Weir at the 2010 GLAAD Media Awards
|Country represented||United States|
July 2, 1984 |
|Height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|Former coach||Viktor Petrenko, Priscilla Hill|
|Choreographer||Johnny Weir, Galina Zmievskaia, Nikolai Morozov|
|Former choreographer||David Wilson, Nina Petrenko, Natalia Linichuk, Tatiana Tarasova, Shanetta Folle, Denis Petukhov, Priscilla Hill, Evgeni Platov, Marina Anissina, Maya Usova, Faye Kitarieva, Michelle Poley, Carolanne Leone, Giuseppe Arena, Anjelika Krylova, Yuri Sergeyev|
|Skating club||SC of New York|
|Training locations||Wayne, New Jersey
|Former training locations||Newark, Delaware
|ISU personal best scores|
2010 Winter Olympics
2010 Winter Olympics
John Garvin "Johnny" Weir-Voronov (born July 2, 1984) is an American figure skater. He is the 2008 World bronze medalist, a two-time Grand Prix Final bronze medalist, the 2001 World Junior Champion, and a three-time U.S. national champion (2004–2006).
Weir was born in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, to John and Patti Weir. He is of Norwegian heritage. He has a brother, Brian, who is four years younger. Weir was raised in Quarryville, Pennsylvania, a town in southern Lancaster County. As a child, he was a successful equestrian, competing with his pony, My Blue Shadow, an Arabian-Shetland cross.
Soon after Weir began skating at the age of 12, his family moved to Newark, Delaware so he could be near his training rink and coach. In the summer of 2007, he moved to Lyndhurst, New Jersey, and began training in nearby Wayne. Weir was an honor roll student at Newark High School and studied linguistics part-time at the University of Delaware before dropping out to concentrate on his skating. He is a self-proclaimed Russophile who admires the skating style and culture of Russia and taught himself to speak and read the language. He also speaks some French.
In July 2008, the United States Figure Skating Association and Skating Magazine announced Weir as the winner of the 2008 Reader's Choice Award for Skater of the Year, an annual trophy voted upon by skating fans and awarded to the American skater or skating team whose achievements were of the highest merit in the previous season. In 2010, Weir won this award again.
Weir has two pet chihuahuas named Bon-Bon and Vanya, and is a collector of Russian Cheburashka memorabilia. He has an interest in fashion design and, in addition to designing some of his own skating costumes, has designed ice dancing costumes for Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov, show costumes for Oksana Baiul and Yuzuru Hanyu's costume for his free program of 2010-2011 season.
Weir's sexual orientation was long the subject of media speculation; however, when asked about his sexuality, Weir responded "...it's not part of my sport and it's private. I can sleep with whomever I choose and it doesn't affect what I'm doing on the ice." In his memoir Welcome to My World, published January 2011, Weir officially came out as gay, citing a string of gay youth suicides as one reason for his decision: "With people killing themselves and being scared into the closet, I hope that even just one person can gain strength from my story."
Weir married Victor Voronov – a 28-year-old Georgetown Law graduate of Russian Jewish descent – in a December 2011 civil ceremony on New Year's Eve in New York City. Weir said, the "wedding [will be] in the summer, but all the official stuff is done now!" Weir's representative said, "The couple has taken the new surname, Weir-Voronov, but professionally, Johnny will continue to be known as Johnny Weir." In February 2012, Weir stated that he was considering converting to Judaism.
Weir became interested in figure skating at the age of eleven while watching Oksana Baiul win her 1994 Olympic gold medal. He taught himself how to jump on roller skates in his basement. His parents eventually bought him a pair of used figure skates, and he practiced on a frozen cornfield behind his family home. His parents then purchased group lessons for him at the University of Delaware, where coach Priscilla Hill soon noticed his talent and took him on as a private student.
Although he began skating at the relatively late age of 12, Weir progressed quickly through the ranks. He performed an Axel jump in his first week on skates. His parents could not afford to support both his figure skating and his equestrian pursuits, so Weir gave up his pony, My Blue Shadow, and turned his focus completely to figure skating. He competed in pair skating with Jodi Rudden on the juvenile and intermediate levels, but gave it up to concentrate on single skating.
Weir's first major victory came in 2001 when, at the age of 16, he skated three clean programs at the World Junior Championships and won the gold medal ahead of fellow American Evan Lysacek. This was the first time since 1987 that the U.S. had placed first and second on the World Junior podium. Weir also placed sixth that year in his debut at the senior U.S. Championships.
At the 2003 U.S. Championships, he literally hit the wall during his long program. He restarted the program, but immediately injured his knee on a failed triple axel landing. This time he was too injured to restart, so he withdrew from the competition. Shortly after this competition, he switched club affiliation from the University of Delaware FSC to the Skating Club of New York, which he still represents.
The 2003–2004 season was the turning point for Weir. He qualified for the U.S. Nationals by winning his regional and sectional championships. He received the first 6.0 of his career during his long program at 2004 U.S. Championships, winning the gold over Michael Weiss and Matthew Savoie. He then competed at the World Championships and placed fifth.
In the 2004–2005 season Weir won his first two Grand Prix titles. He won the first at the 2004 NHK Trophy in Japan and the second at 2004 Trophée Eric Bompard in France. Only two Grand Prix events per season can count toward a skater's point totals under ISU rules, but Weir also skated at the 2004 Cup of Russia for no official points and took the silver medal behind reigning world champion Evgeni Plushenko.
The 2005–2006 Olympic season proved difficult for Weir. He came in seventh at Skate Canada after spraining his ankle on a jump landing at the start of the free skate and struggling through the rest of the program, and third at Cup of Russia.
In December 2005 he won the men's competition at the 2005 Marshall's Figure Skating Challenge, in which results were determined live by call-in votes and texts from viewers, in the final round over Michael Weiss with 64% of the vote.
At the 2006 Winter Olympics, Weir skated a personal best short program and was in second place behind Evgeni Plushenko in that segment. However, Weir omitted some of his planned jumps in the free skate, and finished off of the podium in fifth place.
Weir began the 2006–2007 competitive season at Skate Canada, where he placed third, then went on to Cup of Russia and won the silver medal, his third consecutive medal at that event. He placed second at the 2006 Marshall's Figure Skating Challenge with his performance to The Swan, an exhibition version of his Olympic program, and Weir's signature piece.
Weir withdrew from the 2006–2007 Grand Prix Final before the free skate due to a hip injury he sustained in a freak fall during the short program. At the 2007 U.S. Championships, Weir was in second place after the short program, less than a point behind Evan Lysacek. In the free program, he was unable to complete his triple axel combination, fell on a triple loop and doubled several of his planned combinations. He attempted a quadruple toe loop but it was heavily two-footed on the landing. Weir lost his national title and finished in third place. At the 2007 World Championships, Weir placed eighth.
After the disappointments of the 2006–2007 season, Weir made the decision to shake up his training regimen by leaving the only coach he had ever had, Priscilla Hill, moving out of his family home and moving on his own to New Jersey to train with Ukrainian coach Galina Zmievskaya. He subsequently had a great start to his 2007–2008 season at the Cup of China where he skated two clean and strong programs, achieving new personal best scores for both his free skate and overall score and winning the gold medal over fellow American Evan Lysacek. He then went on to Cup of Russia and took the gold medal there, as well. The two first place finishes secured him a spot at the 2007–2008 Grand Prix Final, where Weir competed with a recurring injury in his landing foot and stumbled in both his short and long programs but still managed to place 4th overall.
At the 2008 U.S. Championships, Weir won the short program over Evan Lysacek by 1.35 points but Lysacek won the long program by exactly the same amount, resulting in a tie. Weir completed a slightly two-footed quadruple toe loop in his long program and scored more points on his jumps and in the program components than Lysacek but Lysacek scored more points for his spins and footwork. Under ISU rules, in the event of a tie the winner of the long program is awarded the gold medal, so Weir received the silver.
At the 2008 World Championships, the United States had failed to medal in every other discipline when the men took the ice last. Weir skated a short program that received a career-best score and put him in second place. In the free program, he skated steadily but tentatively, eliminating the second jump from his first planned combination and doubling a planned triple jump on another combination. However, the program was strong enough for Weir to win his first World medal – a bronze – and kept the United States from being shut out of the medals at a World Championship for the first time since 1994.
Weir began the 2008–2009 season by winning the silver medal at Skate America in October 2008. He then went on to the NHK Trophy in late November, where he competed while suffering from a severe cold but still managed to win his second silver medal of the season. These two finishes qualified him for the 2008–2009 Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final, where he won the bronze medal in December 2008.
During the 2008 Christmas holiday Weir traveled to South Korea to perform in a charity skating show. While there, he contracted a severe stomach virus that landed him in the hospital and caused him to lose eight pounds in a single day. He was unable to regain all of the weight or train at full capacity before the 2009 U.S. Championships in January 2009, where he singled the planned triple axel in both his short and long programs and also fell on the triple lutz in the long, resulting in a fifth-place finish. It was the first time since 2003 that he had been off the podium at Nationals. He was subsequently not named to the U.S. team for the World Championships.
In preparation for the 2009–2010 season Weir went to top skating choreographer David Wilson to create his competitive programs. On September 26, 2009, he debuted his short program, which was set to music by Raúl di Blasio, at a benefit to commemorate 9/11.
In the 2009 Grand Prix season Weir finished a disappointing fourth at Cup of Russia after doubling several of the triple jumps in both his short and long programs, but two weeks later rallied to win silver at the NHK Trophy, while suffering from a cold and sinus infection. This qualified Weir for the 2009-2010 Grand Prix Final in Tokyo, Japan, where he won the bronze medal.
Weir won the bronze medal at the 2010 U.S. Championships in Spokane, Washington and was subsequently named to the U.S. team for the Olympics. He became the center of an animal rights controversy by wearing fox fur on his skating costume at that event. He received protests from the animal rights groups Friends of Animals and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). When the protests escalated to threats of violence against him, Weir announced he would remove the fur from his costume, although he continued to defend wearing fur as a "personal choice." Threats from animal rights activists also forced Weir to alter his housing arrangements for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He had intended to stay in a Vancouver hotel, but for security reasons, chose to stay at the secure Olympic Village, sharing a suite with fellow American figure skater Tanith Belbin.
Weir did not compete during the 2010–2011 season and confirmed in June 2011 that he would also miss the 2011–2012 season, while suggesting a competitive return was still possible. Weir indicated that he hoped to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, "even though I'll [he'll] be old".
In January 2012, Weir stated his intention to return to competition in the 2012-2013 season He said that he would continue to work with Galina Zmievskaya, Viktor Petrenko and Nina Petrenko at the Ice House in Hackensack, New Jersey. In May 2012, Weir was assigned to two 2012 Grand Prix events, the 2012 Rostelecom Cup and the 2012 Trophee Eric Bompard. He returned to competition at the 2012 Finlandia Trophy. He said, "I never wanted one more minute of competitive ice skating after Vancouver but let yourself sit and cook for two years, and anything is possible. [...] there is nothing like competing and the feeling it gives me."
Due to an injury to his right hip, Weir withdrew from the 2012 Rostelecom Cup after the short program and the 2012 Trophee Eric Bompard before the start of the event. He decided not to compete at the 2013 U.S. Championships.
From the beginning of his career at age twelve, Weir trained under coach Priscilla Hill. They worked together first at the University of Delaware in Newark and after the 2002/2003 season moved to the Pond Ice Arena, also in Newark. Weir also spent part of each summer between 2003 and 2005 working with Russian coach Tatiana Tarasova at the International Skating Center of Connecticut in Simsbury, Connecticut.
He changed coaches in the summer of 2007 when he moved to the Ice Vault Arena in Wayne, New Jersey and began working with Galina Zmievskaya, who previously coached Weir's idol Oksana Baiul. Zmievskaya's son-in-law and Olympic gold medallist Viktor Petrenko acts as Weir's assistant coach, and her daughter Nina Petrenko is one of his choreographers.
Celebrity and popular culture career
Documentary and TV series
Pop Star on Ice, a documentary about Weir and his career by filmmakers James Pellerito and David Barba, was filmed between 2006 and Spring 2008. It premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival on May 24, 2009 and was scheduled to show at film festivals across the United States in the Spring and Summer of 2009 before airing on the Sundance Channel on December 24, 2009. The filmmakers also created a multiple-episode TV series entitled Be Good Johnny Weir. Season one aired on the Sundance Channel in early 2010. The series moved to Logo in 2012 for season two.
Other television appearances
After the 2006 Winter Olympics, he taught Kathy Griffin how to skate in the season two finale of Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List. In 2010, Weir appeared in an episode of When I Was 17 on the MTV network, describing his experiences in high school. After the 2010 Winter Olympics, he appeared on many talk shows and skating shows.
In season three of The Rachel Zoe Project, Weir was dressed by Rachel and her assistant Brad Goreski to an event.
In addition to his skating career, Weir has also recorded a pop song produced by Lucian Piane titled "Dirty Love". It was recorded in April 2010, and released as a single worldwide on January 11, 2011.
Off the ice, he has appeared in a fashion spread in BlackBook magazine (including a shot of him in a wrap-around mini skirt), Vanity fair, Vogue Japan and others. He also modeled in runway shows for the fashion label Heatherette.
He serves on the Board of Governors of nPlay, a nonprofit organization devoted to fighting childhood obesity and promoting a healthy lifestyle for young people.
|Season||Short program||Free skating||Exhibition|
|2010–2011||Did not compete that season||Did not compete that season||
|Grand Prix Final||WD||WD||4th||3rd||3rd|
|GP Cup of China||1st|
|GP Cup of Russia||WD||2nd||3rd||2nd||1st||4th||WD|
|GP NHK Trophy||WD||1st||2nd||2nd|
|GP Skate America||2nd|
|GP Skate Canada||7th||7th||3rd|
|Japan Inter. Chall.||2T / 4P|
|GP = Grand Prix; WD = Withdrew
T = Team result; P = Personal result; Medals awarded for team result only.
|JGP Czech Republic||7th|
|Gardena Winter Trophy||6th J.|
|Triglav Trophy||2nd N.|
|National or North American|
|U.S. Championships||3rd N.||4th J.||5th J.||6th|
|U.S. Junior Champ.||4th Ju.|
|Eastern Sectionals||1st N.||1st J.||1st J.||1st|
|South Atlantic Reg.||1st Ju.||1st N.|
|NACS, Winnipeg||1st N.|
|JGP = Junior Grand Prix
Levels: Ju. = Juvenile; N. = Novice; J. = Junior
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Johnny Weir|
- Johnny Weir Official Website
- Johnny Weir at the International Skating Union
- Johnny Weir at the United States Figure Skating Association
- Johnny Weir Interview
- Johnny Weir at the Internet Movie Database