Posted on February 17, 2010 7:17 PM

Weir must clean up his act in order to medal

Pregame rituals are ubiquitous in sport: LeBron James throws chalk in the air, Tim Tebow inks up the eye black and Johnny Weir cleans. Yes, the eccentric American figure skater dips into the cleaning supplies to calm his nerves before he hits the ice.

"Last night I was nervous, so I Pledged everything," Weir said Wednesday. "Some people eat, some people drink, some people smoke. I Pledge."

Perhaps the thinking goes, a clean house makes for a clean program. Maybe he just needs to keep his mind off the rink so he keeps it on the sink.

Weir's pre-skate Pledge didn't seem to help, as he sits in sixth place following the men's short program, 8.15 points out of third.

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Posted on February 15, 2010 2:40 PM

Johnny Weir might attempt a quad in free skate

Hey, what do you know, a Johnny Weir story that doesn't involve the words "faux fur"? Turns out Weir, in addition to having a controversial fashion sense, is a pretty good figure skater.

Weir is apparently considering bring back a quadruple jump in his free skate performance. His coach, Galina Zmievskaya, has urged Weir to begin practicing the quad, and he says he is proud of "the clean one" he did during Monday's run-through.

The men's short program is Tuesday night, and the free skate is Thursday night.

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Posted on February 13, 2010 2:42 PM

Weir feels safer from activists by staying in village

Figure skater Johnny Weir might not like staying at the Olympic athletes village, but he feels safer than he would in a hotel.

Weir said he received what he considers "very serious threats" from anti-fur activists, which influenced his decision to stay in the village, where security is tight. He is sharing a two-bedroom suite with ice dancer Tanith Belbin.

After animal-rights activists threatened to "disrupt" his free skate performance, he decided to remove the real fox fur from his costume and replace it with white faux fur instead.

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Posted on January 29, 2010 9:47 AM

Weir relents; will go from fox fur to faux

Johnny Weir told Icenetwork.com that after animal-rights activists threatened to "disrupt" his free skate at the Vancouver Olympics, he decided to remove the real fox fur from his long program costume and replace it with white faux fur instead.

Weir, who has been the object of scorn from Friends of Animals and other animal-rights groups because he has admitted owning more than a dozen furs, claimed in a statement he and his costume designer had been threatened and harassed.

"I would like to announce that due to pressures and threats from a certain animal rights group I will be changing the genuine fox fur on my free program costume that I will use in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, B.C., to white faux fur," said Weir.
"I made this decision after several threats were sent to me about disrupting my performance in the Olympic Games and my costume designer, Stephanie Handler, was repeatedly sent messages of hate and disgust. I do not want something as silly as my costume disrupting my second Olympic experience and my chance at a medal, a dream I have had since I was a kid."

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Posted on January 27, 2010 2:10 PM

Johnny Weir lets the fur, and the quotes, fly

As far as quote machines go, Johnny Weir is the gift that keeps on giving. Weir has faced regular criticism from animal rights groups for his wearing of fur, both on and off the ice.

In a recent interview with Time Out New York, Weir explained his position on the issue as only he can (lots of interest in this interview).

How many furs do you own? I don't have that many, I'd say maybe ten or so. That's just the coats. Then I have all the hats. PETA can come after me all they want. You wouldn't believe the hate mail I get from PETA.... I love animals to an extent, but how many starving people are there? Help people that need to be helped.
Do you skate in fur? I've been designing this week a new costume, and I'm trying to include some fur. I'm supposed to be a fallen angel, that was my idea. Just a little touch of fur.

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Posted on January 19, 2010 6:17 PM

Does Weir still have it?

There's no doubt Johnny Weir can make an impression on fans watching the men's figure skating competition in Vancouver. As longtime Olympic writer Phil Hersh of the Chicago Tribune wrote in a recent column:

Johnny Weir always has been comfortable in his skin, especially if it is an oilskin corset with a pink shoulder tassel, a pink stripe down an arm and pink laces across the chest like the one he wore for Friday's short program at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

But will Weir impress the judges? The jury is out. More from Hersh, who was in Spokane in when Weir earned his spot on the 2010 U.S. Olympic team:

But not long ago, there was a balance in the contrast between the compelling, understated elegance of Weir's skating and the too-too costumes he prefers while admitting they can look tacky. ...
The balance has tipped toward shtick, as Weir's skating lacks the sparkle he loves on costumes. He performed with such caution in the short program the only remarkable thing was his looking pretty in pink

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Posted on January 11, 2010 5:59 PM

Weir's rivalry with Evan Lysacek

Johnny Weir's biggest rival in skating so far has been U.S. teammate Evan Lysacek. In a 2008 piece on the rivalry between the two, the New York Times described it this way:

One stands 6 feet 2 inches, wears panther black and dates ESPN's Hottest Female Athlete. The other weighs an avian 125 pounds, favors sequined swan outfits and coyly brushes off patter about his sexuality.
One skates with precision and adrenalized power, wants figure skating in the X Games and wears several days of stubble during competitions. The other adores skating's operatic performances, is asked if his eyelashes are real and announces that they are. ...
Evan Lysacek and Johnny Weir share nothing -- except their status as the top two figure skaters in the United States. The closest they ever hope to be is on a medal podium.

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About Johnny Weir

A three-time U.S. national figure skating champion, Johnny Weir's flamboyance -- and talent -- make him one to watch in Vancouver.

The Coatesville, Pa., native began skating in 1996 at age 12 - considered late for figure skating. In Weir's first year, he made the Junior Olympics in both freestyle and pairs (with Jodi Rudden).

He won U.S. titles in 2004, 2005 and 2006, and has three other top-three finishes (2007, 2008 and 2010). He has finished as high as third in the world championships (2008) and took fifth place in the 2006 Turin Games.


Men's Figure Skating

  • Feb. 16, 7:15 p.m.: Short program
  • Feb. 18, 8 p.m.: Free skate
Johnny Weir
Scenes from Weir's figure skating career
Refinery 29 selects Weir's eight craziest fashion moments
Weir's performance of "The Swan" at the Marshalls U.S. Challenge
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