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Two-time Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir has retired from the sport and will join NBC for its Winter Games coverage.
Weir announced his retirement on Wednesday’s Today.
“I have lots of big news, and the first is a little bit sad and it’s kind of hard for me to say, but I’m officially retiring from competitive figure skating and ending my chance of going to a third Olympics this year,” Weir said on the NBC morning show.
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Explaining his decision, he added, “I get old, and you have to find the time to say thank you and goodbye.”
He then thanked his mother, coaches and family for supporting him.
Weir will serve as an expert analyst for figure skating coverage for NBC Sports and during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
“It will be hard not to be out there, and I’ll probably still get sick to my stomach and nervous and go through all the emotions of a competitor, but I’ll be able to support these young skaters and really teach the world what’s going on out there,” Weir said of transitioning to his new role.
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On Today, Weir also was asked about Russia’s controversial anti-gay laws.
“I’m a gay American. I’ve married into a Russian family, and I’ve been a longtime supporter of Russia, the culture, the country, the language, everything about Russia,” he said. “While this law is a terrible thing that you can’t be gay publicly in Russia, I plan to be there in full support of our brothers and sisters there and not be afraid. If I get arrested, I get arrested; if not, great, but our presence is needed. For all the Olympians that worked so hard, a boycott is just the worst thing that you could do to all these young people.”
Joining Weir in NBC’s Olympics coverage will be fellow figure skater Tara Lipinski and ice dancing silver medalist Tanith Belbin.
Lipinski, who also will serve as a figure-skating analyst, made headlines as the youngest individual gold medalist in the history of the Olympic Winter Games when she won in Nagano in 1998 at the age of 15.
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Belbin, a silver medalist in ice dancing at the 2006 Turin Olympics, will serve as a reporter at the Olympics and present features in NBC’s 30-minute daily show for affiliates.
“Johnny, Tara and Tanith have entertained judges and fans alike with their skill, style and charisma,” NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell said in a statement Wednesday. “We’re confident those same characteristics will entertain Olympic viewers this February.”
NBC’s primetime Winter Olympics coverage begins Feb. 6, 2014.
Kimberly Nordyke contributed to this report
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