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Johnny Weir's Weird World ... we kinda love it

Johnny Weir
may not have won any medals at the Vancouver Olympics, but you wouldn't know it from all the attention the figure skater has been getting since he returned to the U.S.

Weir, 25, was in Los Angeles at the end of last week. The Times spent an hour with him at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, just hours before he worked the red carpet for the Sundance Channel at the Independent Spirit Awards. Weir is the star of Sundance's docu-series "Be Good Johnny Weir," which ends its first season March 22.

In a wide-ranging interview, Weir shared his feelings about placing sixth at the Olympics, his TV show, Adam Lambert and Lady Gaga, and what he wants to do next. Though he was sleep-deprived, Weir said he was enjoying the opportunity to open up to the American public. (Video below).

"When I was younger, I didn’t really think of myself as a speaker for other people," he said. "But now I know that I have a responsibility for the kids coming up after me, especially after the Olympics. There were a lot of negative comments about me and being gender-tested and things like that. I realize that it’s very important that I can talk about those things in public so that those comments that people made about me don’t reflect onto other kids that are growing up like me."

Known for his flamboyant personality, Weir admitted that "it’s really grinding to always play out of both sides of your mind and always be thinking what will offend people. Or what won’t. But I’m strong enough to deal with that. I own that I’m freakish in my way. I can be myself and be free, and other people’s approval means very little to me, although I would have really, really liked to have had a medal at the Olympics."

In addition to politics -- he figures there was no room on the medals podium for two Americans -- Weir thinks his exposure on TV may have counted against him.

"I say a lot of 'crazy' things," he said. "And not every judge sitting on that panel judging me is going to like that. Maybe I’m judged a little harshly. Maybe I’m not. Who knows? But the one thing I could have done was skate well, and that’s what I did. I skated two programs I can be proud of for the rest of my life, medal or not. But still, I am an athlete, and at the end of the day, nobody likes to lose."

Winning a medal, Weir said, would have "legitimized" a dream he began to work toward when he was 12.

"It just would have legitimized what people have said to me my whole career: You have so much talent, you need to work, you need to do this, that. You need to win those medals. And those things are things I would have loved to have fulfilled. Nobody gets lucky all the time. Nobody can win all the time. Nobody’s a robot. Nobody’s perfect. And I wish me being perfect was good enough to get that medal and to prove myself to lots and lots of people. To give that medal to my dad, to hang it around my mom’s neck when I was done, that would have been the moment I would have looked forward to with winning the medal."

On the other hand, Weir pointed out, "My family, the support of my friends, the amount of people that have written and come up to me on the street and said thank you for representing us, and Adam Lambert, and Lady Gaga, that's been amazing. For every moment I feel I could have had by winning the medal, I’ve gained by somehow not winning the medal. I don’t know how that worked."

Weir says he would compete in the Olympics in Russia in 2014 "if I had the strength, the power and the muscles to do it again. I don’t see why not. But 25 is already advanced in age for a figure skater, and I'd be 29. To be almost 30 and still be chasing a dream that I set when I was 12, it seems very daunting. I love Russia, so to compete in the Russian Olympics would be beautiful. To win a medal would be beautiful. But I think in four years it won’t be possible to win a medal; it would just be me going there to represent the U.S. in Russia."

When his skating career ends, Weir said he plans to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and dedicate himself full time to designing a complete fashion line.

Watch the video to hear Weir talking about his special gift to the Olympics judges' panel, how he feels about figure skating, and his future in fashion. In the coming days, Show Tracker will post more videos with Weir.

-- Maria Elena Fernandez and Denise Martin (follow us on Twitter @writerchica and @denisemartin)

Photo: Johnny Weir at the Vancouver Olympics. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Video credit: Maria Elena Fernandez


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Comments () | Archives (8)

Johnny Weir has the IT factor. He draws people into his fabulous world. He's so comfortable with himself. If he doesn't skate in Sochi 2014, I would love for him to do commentary.

Tell Smuckers you want to see Johnny on the Stars on Ice Tour, or you won't go!

I came a little late to the Johnny party, and I really don't know how I managed to miss him all these years, but I'm fully on board now and cannot wait to see what he'll do next. Also, I'd KILL to be in the room when he and Adam Lambert finally meet. They are two of the most exciting and talented men to come along in decades.

I have been following Johnny Weir for the past year and I am a huge fan of his. I was so please to see Adam Lambert come to his defense when some not so nice things were being said about Johnny. In fact, I felt that because Adam Lambert stepped up and said, Johnny Weir is a trailblazer in his field it changed the thought process of so many. I noted the change in perception(s) at school. It made me realize how powerful just one voice really can be. Adam Lambert is an amazing singer and Johnny is a fantastic skater. Someday I hope to see Johnny skate to an Adam Lambert song and win a GOLD Medal. Go Johnny! Johnny be good!

I Love Johnny SO MUCH. I love that he's true to himself and doesn't conform to anyone. How refreshing. Plus, he's hilariously funny as his show proves. Johnny may not have won a medal at the Olympics but I have a feeling he's going to be around for a very long time and is about to go on to greater things. You can't help but love him and I do....

It is so sad to see people follow someone like Weir who is so self absorbed. he is actually an embarassment to the Gay community

Figure Skating like gymnastics is unfortunately all about image and politics. I skated for years before the new scoring system. I didn't come from money and most elite skaters do. To say I encountered "stage moms" and whiny brats is an understatement but I did it because I loved to skate. It is such a challenging sport and when you land that triple it feels amazing. I love Johnny Weir. I think he has kept the artistry in figure skating that is being replaced by how many quads you can do. He was definitely scored too low for both programs at the Olympics and it is due to bias. You would think in 2010 people would get a clue. Does it really matter if he's gay? Is America still discussing this issue? As far as Stars on Ice, it isn't just Smuckers, it's Scott Hamilton. Scott is an amazing athlete but he is very closed minded and very old school and that is unfortunate. Many of the judges are very close minded. If it's fans that USFS wants then they need skaters like Johnny. Back when Tonya Harding was skating long before the Nancy Kerrigan incident, Tonya disgraced skating every chance she got. She had no respect for the sport. Showing up late to competitions, the podium, you name it she did it yet Johnny gets slack for his sexuality. It's ridiculous.

Johnny is amazing on and off the ice.


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