Why do they save the best interviews for the late-night Olympics coverage? Just after 1am Bob Costas invited diva duo Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski — former U.S. Olympic figure skaters who have since put the color back in color commentary — to join him for a little dish session. The topics:
- Whether the scores for the women’s free skate, the final medal event in figure skating, were fair. Lipinski said she would have scored the night exactly the same way, awarding gold to Russian 17-year-old Adelina Sotnikova over the defending Olympic champion, South Korea’s Yuna Kim, because, simply put, Sotnikova brought it. Seven triple jumps should beat six any day, Lipinski said — and she should know. Sixteen years ago yesterday, Tara became the youngest woman (at age 15) to win Olympic gold in figure skating, thanks largely to her — count ’em — seven triple loops and Salchows. And lest you forget that anniversary, Lipinski brought out the gold top and matching his/hers gold-leaf Athenian headbands. Because yes.
- America’s chances in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. Weir lavished praise on 15-year-old Polina Edmunds, who made her Olympic debut in Sochi, though she “still needs to learn the artistic side.” Lipinski called 18-year-old Gracie Gold “the future” of the U.S. squad. As for 22-year-old Ashley Wagner’s proclamation that she wanted to be back in four years? Quote Lipinski: “That’s…interesting.” Yow. A retired figure skater just said you’re old, Wagner. Might as well learn mahjong and book that cruise to Alaska.
- If Johnny Weir was harassed in Russia for being gay. Old smoothie Costas posed a more “general” question, though: “Johnny … how are you?” Thankfully, Weir spoke as candidly as he did during the Olympic broadcast. (Johnny on Czech Republic’s Elizaveta Ukolova: “She’s 15 years old, but she … skates like she’s 15.”) Despite Russia’s recent ban on pro-gay “propaganda,” Weir said he was treated “fantastically” in Sochi. “And I brought the gay.” Did you?
Oh wait. Yes. Yes, you did. The diva duo said they received a lot of love from locals when they went out around the city of Sochi. Weir’s only anecdote to suggest that things weren’t all glitter and Judy Garland came from his trip to the public restroom. (Hold on…it’s not that kind of late-night coverage.) Russian men would do a double take when they entered the bathroom and saw Weir “and his weave” standing at a urinal, he said; they would go back to check the door to make sure they were in the right place. Not so shocking — that could happen in any small town. What’s interesting is that Weir has been mum on the issue of Russia’s anti-gay law until last night (as quiet as you can be in a hot pink blazer). His actions spoke louder than his words, and for some, that wasn’t enough; CNN host Don Lemon called Weir’s Olympic moment nothing but “a gay minstrel show.” But what responsibility did Weir have? Did he have to protest the Olympics on behalf of every member of the worldwide LGBT community? He had a job to do, he did it well, and while he was at it, he issued an F you to Vladimir Putin in the form of leather pants and sequins. I’d almost call it…subtle.