Tara Lipinski on Working with 'Best Friend' Johnny Weir for Another Olympics: We 'Push Each Other'

Tara Lipinski, who spoke to PEOPLE about her partnership with CeraVe, also talks about what makes the Olympics "magical"

Tara Lipinski Johnny Weir
Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir at the 2018 Winter Games. Photo: Peter Kneffel/picture alliance/Getty

Rest assured, Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir aren't faking it for the cameras — that love is all very real.

The dynamic figure skating duo is preparing to cover another Olympic Games side-by-side for NBC — albeit, this time, stateside — with coordinated ensembles and their signature blend of expertise and fun.

"It's almost a decade of us doing this together and I really can't imagine not being in the booth without Johnny Weir," Lipinski, a former figure skating gold medalist, tells PEOPLE while chatting about her partnership with CeraVe.

Lipinski, now 38, won the women's figure skating competition at the 1998 Nagano Games at only 15. Weir, 37, was a few years behind on the circuit, competing for Team USA in 2006 and 2010. Their connection only came after both had retired from the sport and partnered on the small screen in 2014.

"Obviously we knew of each other for so many years, skating's a small world, but we never really had time to connect or build a friendship or a relationship," explains Lipinski. "And when we started commentating, I was covering the women's and he would cover the men's event. One day, we were just in the studio waiting on a broadcast, and we started bonding over his handbag and my handbag. We started talking and it was just this instantaneous connection and feeling of home."

Calling Weir "like a soulmate" and her "best friend," Lipinski muses that it's "crazy" how long it took for the pair — who now even share an Instagram account — to actually connect. But when they did, it was magic.

"We were the ones that actually reached out to NBC and said, 'Maybe you can audition us doing this together,' " she recounts, noting that it led to their first Olympics pairing for NBC's figure skating coverage during the Sochi Games. "I think that experience was really a bonding moment for us because we were new to this together, we had to prove ourselves."

Both enjoy the technical aspect of their roles, Lipinski notes, and enjoy telling the competing figure skaters' stories. The goal, she says, is to make the audience fall in love with the sport and keep them coming back for more.

It was that same storytelling that lead her to figure skating, says Lipinski. She was watching the Olympics coverage on television as a child, and thinking, "Oh my goodness, someday could I do that?"

"There's something so magical and special about an Olympics," she says. "It's the biggest stage for sports, and what these athletes sacrifice to get to this moment, it's just for me — even though I've been there, I've had my Olympic moment — I still get chills and I still get overwhelmed every time I either hear about an athlete's story or watch a moving performance."

And though NBC opted not to send Lipinski and Weir to Beijing for this year's Games, which are now underway, they'll still be grappling with winter weather as they will be covering everything from the NBC headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut.

Lipinski, of course, has a well-perfected winter skincare routine that will help keep her camera-ready despite the harsh and drying chilly temps.

"The CeraVe Moisturizing Cream is my staple and my go-to, and that's the cream that anytime I even have a little irritation or redness. Within a few days I'm cleared up," Lipinski, who is working with the brand, says. "And then I also love the Hydrating Facial Cleanser. Again, I'm constantly taking makeup on and off, and TV makeup — which is thick and heavy — and I usually can't wait to get that all off and to make sure that my skin is moisturized and hydrated."

Much like she and Weir, working with the brand was a natural fit. "I grew up seeing that lotion in my mom's bathroom drawer every day. She religiously used it when I was growing up, and I loved it," she says. "As a figure skater being on these dry, freezing cold rinks, it was always my go-to when I would get home to make sure my skin was moisturized and hydrated."

Trust is important to Lipinski — in the products she uses, companies she works with, and, of course, in her broadcasting partner.

With Weir, "there's this feeling of knowing that he has my back, and I have his back."

"We both know our strengths and weaknesses," she says. "We will push each other to a moment that we know is going to be a lot of fun. We just have that ease and comfort with each other that you don't ever have to ever overthink something."

To learn more about all the Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Winter Olympics, beginning Feb 3, and the Paralympics, beginning March 4, on NBC.

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