Banking on their acclaimed broadcasting work at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, former American ice skaters Johnny Weir and Tara Lapinski were tabbed by NBC to co-host the 140 th Kentucky Derby and the results have been both outstanding and hilarious.
Weir, 29, and Lipniski, 31, took the broadcasting route that so many athletes veer off to following successful careers sports much like we see in the NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball.
But armed with social media, and NBC’s support, the two used their considerable senses of humor and style to draw in more mainstream viewers for the traditionally stiff and fringe-sport of horse racing.
From the start and up until Saturday’s show time, Weir and Lipinski took to photo-sharing hub Instagram to tease their outfits and just over-the top hats, which are typically the sideshow at Churchill Downs.
Once they got to Louisville, Kentucky, neither shied away from the thoroughbreds, though Weir didn’t appear as comfortable as Lipinski atop his chosen steed.
When NBC’s pre-race coverage began, Weir and Lipinski revealed their wide-brimmed and carefully crafted hats to the world and made their predictions.
In a clip later revealed during the pre-race show, the pair went on a search for the most stylish horse in the stables. They settled on 16-1 shot Wildcat Red because of his “good breath” and his yellow reins, Weir showed a dead-on impression of how a horse’s lips move and Derby favorite California Chrome nearly bit Weir for some wore treats.
And they of course worked the unofficial red carpet at Churchill Downs.
All told, Weir and Lipinski likely earned themselves another trip to the Derby next year.