Johnny Weir (born John Garvin Weir on July 2, 1984 in Coatesville, Pennsylvania) is an American figure skater.
He is a two-time Olympian, 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 (from 2004 to 2006).
Johnny became interested in figure skating when he was 11 years old 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.
Johnny's parents purchased group lessons for him at the University of Delaware where his coach Priscilla Hill soon noticed his talent and took him on as a private student.
His parents could not afford to support both his figure skating and his equestrian pursuits, so Johnny gave up his pony, My Blue Shadow and turned his focus completely to figure skating.
Although he began skating at 12 years old, Johnny progressed quickly through the ranks. He performed an Axel jump after his first week of lessons. He competed in pair skating with Jodi Rudden on the juvenile and intermediate levels, but gave it up to concentrate on single skating.
Johnny'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 skater Evan Lysacek.
This was the first time since 1987 that the United States had placed first and second on the World Junior podium. He also placed sixth that year in his debut at the senior U.S. Championships.
At the 2003 U.S. Championships, Johnny literally hit the wall during his long program. He restarted the program, but he immediately injured his knee on a failed triple axel landing.
This time, Johnny was too injured to restart, so he withdrew from the competition.
Shortly after this competition, Johnny 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 Johnny; 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, Johnny 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 Johnny also skated at the 2004 Cup of Russia for no official points and took the silver medal behind reigning world champion Evgeni Plushenko.
At the 2005 U.S. Championships, he earned five 6.0's for presentation with his free skate to Otonal and successfully defended his national title.
Johnny went on to compete at the 2005 World Championships with a landing foot injury and placed fourth.
The 2005–2006 Olympic season proved difficult for Johnny; 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 U.S. Championships, Johnny won his third consecutive title and, as the national champion, was automatically named to the U.S. Olympics and World teams.
At the 2006 Winter Olympics, he skated a personal best short program and was in second place behind Evgeni Plushenko in that segment.
However, Johnny omitted some of his planned jumps in the free skate, and finished off of the podium in fifth place. At the 2006 World Championships, he finished seventh as he was dealing with a nagging back injury.
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, Johnny was in second place after the short program, less than a point behind Evan Lysacek.
In the free program, Johnny 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. He lost his national title and finished in third place.
At the 2007 World Championships, he placed eighth.
After the disappointments of the 2006–2007 season, Johnny 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.
Johnny 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 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, Johnny 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.
He 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 Johnny 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. Johnny 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 Johnny 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.
Johnny 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 of 2008.
During the 2008 Christmas holiday, Johnny 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.
Johnny was unable to regain all of the weight or train at full capacity before the 2009 U.S. Championships in January of 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 Johnny 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, Johnny 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, Johnny 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, he rallied to win silver at the NHK Trophy while suffering from a cold and sinus infection.
This qualified Johnny for the 2009-2010 Grand Prix Final in Tokyo, Japan, where he won the bronze medal.
He 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.
At the 2010 Winter Olympics, he finished sixth overall, with a new personal-best combined score of 238.87.
Johnny 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.
He indicated that he hoped to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, "even though I'll [he'll] be old."
In January of 2012, Johnny 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 of 2012, he was assigned to two 2012 Grand Prix events, the 2012 Rostelecom Cup and the 2012 Trophee Eric Bompard.
Johnny 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, Johnny 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.
In September of 2013, U.S. Figure Skating announced that Johnny had not registered for qualifying events to the 2014 U.S. Championships, where skaters compete for Olympic berths.
On October 23, 2013, Johnny announced his retirement from competitive skating and that he would join NBC Olympics as a figure skating analyst for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.
Ice Show CareerEdit
Although retired from competition, Johnny remains active as a skater.
He skated with the "Champions on Ice" touring ice show every spring from 2004 until 2007, their last season before going out of business. He has also performed in Russia, Japan, China and South Korea.
In 2013, he skated in the Artistry on Ice show which toured in China.
In January of 2015, he skated in the Russian production Snow King and in the spring, he skated in the "Fantasy on Ice" tour.
In the summer, Johnny was named to the cast of Nancy Kerrigan's "October Halloween on Ice" show which opened in October 2015.
In 2014, Johnny and Tara Lipinski worked as a broadcast team for ice skating events at the Sochi Winter Olympics.
As a result of positive reviews and ratings for the event, they were named in October 2015 as NBC's top figure skating broadcast team.
The pair was invited to appear in March 2014 as fashion commentators for "Access Hollywood" at the 86th Academy Awards with host Billy Bush.
In May of 2014, Johnny and Tara appeared as fashion commentators for NBC's coverage of the 2014 Kentucky Derby.
In 2015, Johnny and Tara appeared as event reporters at the Super Bowl XLIX pregame show on NBC.
In May, they returned for coverage of the 2015 Kentucky Derby; in November, they covered the National Dog Show.
In 2016, he and Tara covered fashion at the Rio Olympics for NBC Sports.
|Season||Short program||Free skating||Exhibition|
|2010–2011||Did not compete that season||Did not compete that season||
|2009–2010|| "Fallen Angel":
- Bronze medal: 3rd place (2008 Gothenburg)
Grand Prix Final
- Bronze medal: 3rd place (2009–2010 Tokyo)
- Bronze medal: 3rd place (2008–2009 Goyang)
World Junior Championships
- Gold medal: 1st place (2001 Sofia)
Competitive Highlights Edit
|World Junior Championship||1st|
|Gardena Winter Trophy||6th J|
|Triglav Trophy||2nd N|
|NACS Winnipeg||1st N|
|U.S. Championships||3rd N||4th J||5th J||6th|
|U.S. Junior Champ.||4th V|
|Eastern Sectionals||1st N||1st J||1st J||1st|
|South Atlantic Reg.||1st V||1st N|
|Levels: V = Juvenile; N = Novice; J = Junior|
|Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final||WD||WD||4th||3rd||3rd|
|Cup of China||1st|
|Cup of Russia||WD||2nd||3rd||2nd||1st||4th||WD|
|Japan Inter. Chall.|| 2nd T|
| WD = Withdrew|
T = Team result; P = Personal result. Medals awarded for team result only.
Johnny was born in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, to parents John & Patti Weir; he was raised in Quarryville, Pennsylvania.
He is of Norwegian heritage.
As a child, Johnny was a successful equestrian, competing with his pony, an Arabian-Shetland cross named My Blue Shadow.
Soon after he began skating when he was 12 years old, 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.
Johnny 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.
Johnny is openly gay; his sexual orientation had long been the subject of media speculation; however, prior to 2011 when asked about his sexuality, he responded by saying, "...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 2011 memoir "Welcome to My World", he officially came out as gay, citing a string of gay youth suicides as one reason for his decision, saying:
"With people killing themselves and being scared into the closet, I hope that even just one person can gain strength from my story."
On New Year's Eve 2011, Johnny married Victor Voronov, a Georgetown Law graduate of Russian-Jewish descent in a civil ceremony in New York City; they divorced in 2015, citing domestic difficulties.
He was raised Roman Catholic and has stated he is open to other belief systems, including practicing Kabbalah, stating, "I believe in anything good, and anything that can teach love." In February 2012, Johnny stated that he was considering converting to Judaism.
In 2006, he had two pet chihuahuas named Bon-Bon & Vanya. As of 2012, he has a Japanese spaniel named Tyoma.
Johnny is a self-proclaimed Russophile who admires Russia's skating style and culture; in fact, he taught himself to speak and read the language; he is a collector of Russian Cheburashka memorabilia.
He also speaks some French and Japanese.
In 2011, Johnny published an autobiography titled "Welcome to My World" in which he traced the path he took to become a skating champion, plus outlined his philosophy.
He also writes a column for the Falls Church News-Press which is published on the "National Commentary" page.
Johnny has an interest in fashion design. In addition to designing some of his own skating costumes, he has designed ice dancing costumes for Melissa Gregory & Denis Petukhov and show costumes for Oksana Baiul.
In 2010, he debuted his Be Unique fashion label with a line of $95 black jackets; he also designed Yuzuru Hanyu's costume for his free program in the 2010-2011 season as well as the one Hanyu wore while winning the gold medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
In 2011, Johnny designed a line of women's dresses for eDressMe.com and appeared in a photoshoot to advertise the offering.
Off the ice, he has appeared in fashion spreads in "BlackBook" magazine, "Vanity Fair", "Vogue Japan" and others. He also modeled in runway shows for the fashion label, Heatherette.
In April of 2010, Johnny recorded a pop song called "Dirty Love" which was released worldwide in January of 2011 where it went to #1 on the Amazon sales charts in Japan shortly after its release.