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    Interview with Johny Weir `I can't do a comeback like Pluschenko'

    Ekaterina Kulinicheva speaks to Weir for sport-express.ru

    He is the 3 times USA national champion, but his achievements in the international level are modest - he only ever got a bronze medal at the worlds 2008. Nevertheless, he is one of the most loved skaters and his decision to come back and participate the Olympics in Sochi became a sensation all over the world. A week ago the 28y.o. American participated a competition in Espoo: it was his first competition in 2.5 years.

    I want to live my life the way I choose
    - I have very positive feelings about my comeback, smiled Johnny sitting in the press room in Espoo. He had just finished the competition becoming 4th and seemed if not satisfied certainly not crashed.
    -I'm not Pluschenko, I can't come back the way he did - winning the nationals, then Europeans. We've always been different. Of course I admire his achievements, but I decided to take things slowly. There were some positive as well as negative things in Finland, but then I didn't expect to be on the top of the form in October. It's impossible. I need more time. My goal was to show everyone that I indeed came back and not just trying to create some talks with no reasons. Everything I've been doing in those 2.5 years was great: show, fashion, music, books - all those things the celebrities do. But it can't compare to figure skating.

    EK: How did people close to you take your decision?
    JW: There aren't too many close people. Everyone were supportive. Including Galina (Zmievskaya) who said I can come back any time I feel ready. I realized what was expecting me - it's hard to come back and compete with the 17, 18, 19y.o. They are kids who have nothing but figure skating in their lives. I will be almost 30 in Sochi. It's hard, especially if you are not a fighter like Pluschenko. But if people see me overcoming myself on the daily basis perhaps they will be inspired to become better.

    EK: Do you remember the moment you decided to come back?
    JW: I think it was in February (actually in the end of January). But, of course, I needed time to realize it's real. I think it went on till June till we had the first run through of the programme. That's when I realize that guess I was going to compete again.

    EK: You mentioned several times the defeat in Vancouver broke your heart. Could you imagine back then you'd attempt to come back?
    JW: No way! But after being home for two years everything becomes possible.

    EK: Are there any old injuries that bother you?
    JW: So far so good. There are small things every day - I might hurt a toe on a bad landing or just hurt something. But it's because I'm so old.

    Unlike Lysacek after making the decision Johnny didn't argue with the US figure skating federation about the money and participated shows to gain enough money to pay the bills. He doesnt' mind admitting so. At the end of the day he is the one who is seen as the figure skating saviour who could bring 3 spots to the USA in Olympics.

    EK: After retiring you openly admitted being gay and married a man. Did it influence your relationship with the federation?
    JW: My whole life I wanted to live the way I like. Not so more people would like me, but for myself. If people care about me being married to a man - well, I'm proud of it. I told many times why did I go public about being gay : it happens the teenagers commit suicide because they are afraid not being accepted the way they are. It's awful. Perhaps my story will make someone stronger.
    As for my relationship with the federation ever since Vancouver things changed. I became a star in the USA and it's a big difference. The Federation knows I want to bring the viewers back to figure skating, I know they'll support me in getting to the Worlds. Our relationship now is far better than it used to be. I'm not trying to change them, they are not trying to change me.

    Business is a competition as well
    EK: There is an opinion figure skating becomes less and less popular. Is your mission to make the sport as beloved as it used to be?
    JW: It is indeed important for me. I didn't win the Olympics, but it'\s not important for the audience. Some think I was - I was congradulated on winning the gold several times. I want to show there are plenty of interesting people in the Figure Skating who deserve to be as loved as say, the football players. They are just payed less. Figure skaters have to work really hard for much lesser goods.
    Why figure skating becomes less popular? It think because it became a gymnastics on the ice. There is no place for art anymore. We need more skaters who are willing to take a risk and try something new. It's hard, especially in such countries as the USA, where the competition is so high. In order to get to the worlds you have to beat everyone domestically. Hence skaters have to follow the rules and there isn't much space left for expressing themselves.
    I think the CoP is important, but it deprived the audience from understanding what is going on, why someone wins and someone looses. It used to be easy enough :you fall you loose. Now you can fall 4 times from your jumps but make more revolutions in the spins or something else and win. People don't understand it.

    EK: It was written FS became less popular in the USA because there are no local champions. Hence the federation is so interested in your and Lysacek's comeback.
    JW: It's hard to tell. During my time in show business I learned one thing - the show biz is also a competition, but the goal is not a medal, it's the public's attention. Not only you compete with Lysacek, but with Kardashian, Aguilera and others. If the interest in figure skating went down it's not because of me, Lysacek or Pluschenko - there is a deeper reason. Our sport is not as glamorous as it used to be.
    For example when I look at my marks I don't understand what they mean. And, frankly, I'm not even trying to find out. I always tried to express myself, show the emotions. Fortunately my coaches understand the rules. They tell me what to do, provoke me all the time to make the programme harder, for example to put a 3A in the 2nd part of the programme. Coaching me means being one step ahead, surprise me and make me do something I don't really want to. It's not for nothing they call Galina a talented puppets master.

    Retiring after his failure in Vancouver Weir didn't really know what is he going to do in his new life. In the end he did no less good then , for instance, Lysacek. Johnny participated various show, he published a book `Welcome to my World', became one of the fashion guys and charmed everyone with his reality show `Johnny be good', which received good feedbacks and a good press. For instance the USA today journalist wrote `I didn't really know that guy before but became a fan of his after the 1st episode'

    So as far as the Americans go Johnny is even more of a star now coming back than he was when he left.

    Gaga on ice
    EK: How did it happen that Lady Gaga gave you a remix of Poker Face for your programme?
    JW: I was sitting with her mother in New York restaurant at the winter and I mentioned I'd love to do a competitive programme to Gaga's song, but there is a problem: am not allowed to use lyrics. Of course I could find a karaoke cover, but that's silly. She dialed her daughters' number immediately and let me ask her. Lady Gaga is so amazing. I respect endlessly people who can be so successful yet so humble. In the end after that call Gaga sent me 3 versions of Poker Face without lyrics. It's a great story, by the way! No matter how do I skate I have a Gaga music!

    EK: Have you considered a show together?
    JW: Oh, I did. I'm considered a Gaga on the ice, so it would make sense to do a show together. I'd love to create something special for the Olympic season: to get together all the ideas I have, do create costumes with the known designers, to try and unite all the talented people who I was lucky to work with during the last two years.

    EK: What will become of your celebrity life now?
    JW: I still get a lot of offers. But I decline everything now and concentrate on training. You can't live in both worlds at the same times. Of course I have to make money and pay the bills, but sport comes first now. It's how it is supposed to be if I want to be back on the high level. But my show is still popular in the USA and it's nice.

    Many are skeptical about Weir's perspectives in sport. After his LP in Espoo one of the quite knowledgeable people said : I don't know. Figure skating is a hard sport. Johnny himself asks to give him time and says he is not stupid to skate show programmes in the competitions. Indeed in the practices he seemed much more confident, which is a good thing.

    JW: The new programmes are cool, interesting and comfortable. I hope everyone will be able to see that soon - just as soon as I overcome my nerves.

    We are looking forward, Johnny!

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    I love Johnny's skating, but if he keeps with this opinion:
    For example when I look at my marks I don't understand what they mean. And, frankly, I'm not even trying to find out. I always tried to express myself, show the emotions. Fortunately my coaches understand the rules. They tell me what to do, provoke me all the time to make the programme harder, for example to put a 3A in the 2nd part of the programme.
    . . . then he has no reason to complain about his marks being low. He just refuses to learn the system.
    In my spare time, I like to interview figure skating legends.

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    Re-posting the link to an article from an interview with Weir at Finlandia Trophy:
    Quote Originally Posted by judiz View Post
    new article about Johnny's return to competition

    http://www.goldenskate.com/2012/10/w...and-pony-show/
    "Randy [Starkman (1960-April 16, 2012)] lived by the same motto as the rest of us. The Olympics isn’t every four years, it’s every single day. He just got it." --Canadian Olympic kayaker Adam van Koeverden

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    Yeah what manleywoman said. That quote just made me go .

    The rest of the interview was ok and good luck to him. I mean he could easily make a living off being a celebrity but he's taken a huge risk. Hopefully he will follow it through and train hard and make the best of it, whatever the result.
    Last edited by Ziggy; 10-16-2012 at 06:46 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by manleywoman View Post
    I love Johnny's skating, but if he keeps with this opinion:

    . . . then he has no reason to complain about his marks being low. He just refuses to learn the system.
    ITA, love Johnny but he needs to devote some energy to learning COP if he truly wants to make it to Sochi. I am not really sure why he has such a disconnect anyway, since COP has been in place for most of his senior skating career.

    However, I do give him props for not just saying "I'm coming back," but to actually committing and showing up to the competitions. Finlandia should have been a wake-up notice. We'll see what progress he's made when it comes to the tough field at Cup of Russia.
    I meant to take the high road.... but I missed the exit.

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    What Sylvia said made me go . I should had known there was an original somewhere.

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    TAHbKA, I'm glad you started this new article thread for Weir in GSD because I didn't see a relevant thread in which to re-post the Golden Skate article link earlier.
    "Randy [Starkman (1960-April 16, 2012)] lived by the same motto as the rest of us. The Olympics isn’t every four years, it’s every single day. He just got it." --Canadian Olympic kayaker Adam van Koeverden

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    Quote Originally Posted by manleywoman View Post
    I love Johnny's skating, but if he keeps with this opinion:

    . . . then he has no reason to complain about his marks being low. He just refuses to learn the system.
    OMG!

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    Quote Originally Posted by peibeck View Post

    However, I do give him props for not just saying "I'm coming back," but to actually committing and showing up to the competitions. Finlandia should have been a wake-up notice. We'll see what progress he's made when it comes to the tough field at Cup of Russia.
    Agreed. Love that he's coming back. I just am going to scream if I hear him complain about his marks ever again being due to politics or skate order or whatever . . . if he makes mistakes in a program, he wont be able to think on his feet and gain points elsewhere. I just wish he'd take the time to learn the system, since it's really to his benefit to do so. Even if he doesn't "care" about winning medals, it seems strange to make the effort to come back and not maximize the best you can.
    In my spare time, I like to interview figure skating legends.

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    FWIW I suspect JW knows a bit more about IJS rules, than he lets on in this particular interview.

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    Quote Originally Posted by manleywoman View Post
    I love Johnny's skating, but if he keeps with this opinion:

    . . . then he has no reason to complain about his marks being low. He just refuses to learn the system.
    Statements like that make me question his reputation for being smart. Because that attitude is just plain stupid.
    My job requires me to be a juggler, but that does not mean that I enjoy working with clowns.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nylynnr View Post
    FWIW I suspect JW knows a bit more about IJS rules, than he lets on in this particular interview.
    I know right? I don't entirely believe it! In his book he mentions getting a 3 in transitions from Inman at us nationals and how other judges gave him higher marks so if it is like he is thinking judges just give anything and what are he standards? But he mentions 3a in the second half and that is more points-1.1% bonus increase. So that is known.

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    I've never taken a skating lesson in my life and I know how CoP works. It's not that hard, contrary to what Scott and Sandra say. I can't believe that Johnny hasn't even bothered to learn the basics (he doesn't need to go out and memorize the point value of a triple lutz, but he should be able to identify the features that gain levels in spins and steps, for instance). Seriously, if a curious fan can read a protocol and identify what caused the GOE to be what it was or what determined a level, he should be able to, too.

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    Thank you for the translation!

    I honestly doubt that he's clueless about COP. Otherwise he wouldn't be going for quads and level 4 spins for instance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nylynnr View Post
    FWIW I suspect JW knows a bit more about IJS rules, than he lets on in this particular interview.
    Quote Originally Posted by Margaret View Post
    I honestly doubt that he's clueless about COP. Otherwise he wouldn't be going for quads and level 4 spins for instance.
    I agree with both points. However he does have a history of making simple mistakes (not enough combos, for example) that have hurt him in the past. He lost one national championship that he could have won with just adding a single loop on the end of a combo. So even if he knows more than he lets on, he perpetuates his lack of interest in working the system with comments like the one I quoted above.

    If he's going to publicize that he doesn't care to learn the rules, then I think he forfeits any future bitching about his placements.

    My hope is that he skates well all season, gets the placements he fairly deserves, and he says he's satisfied with them.
    In my spare time, I like to interview figure skating legends.

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    I doubt he really doesn't know the rules. He just likes to mention things like that in interviews to show how unfair and stupid COP is, so when he doesn't get the points others do, it's not his fault, it's this convoluted system and the old fogey judges who don't like Lady Gaga

    I like Johnny, I do, but sometimes he is tedious.

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    Quote Originally Posted by triple_toe View Post
    I doubt he really doesn't know the rules. He just likes to mention things like that in interviews to show how unfair and stupid COP is, so when he doesn't get the points others do, it's not his fault, it's this convoluted system and the old fogey judges who don't like Lady Gaga
    I like Johnny, I do, but sometimes he is tedious.
    I respect Weir for his comeback and actually showing up at competitions and skating relatively well for a comeback skater. He's already a celebrity/diva star and he need not return to competition. . But I agree with triple toe that his constant complaints regarding COP is tedious and makes it harder for some of us to respect him more. Why can't we all move on?

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    It always seemed odd to me that Johnny doesn't like, understand, or maximize COP, because when he was on the rise he seemed to be using it before they actually adopted it. Remember his gorgeous early routines, jam-packed with transitions and difficult entries to jumps and spins? So I never understood why, as the years went on, he kept simplifying his routines.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nylynnr View Post
    FWIW I suspect JW knows a bit more about IJS rules, than he lets on in this particular interview.
    ITA, I'm not buying it either.

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    At the end of the day he is the one who is seen as the figure skating saviour who could bring 3 spots to the USA in Olympics.
    lolwut?
    It used to be easy enough :you fall you loose.
    6.0 was never like that. Never.
    Now you can fall 4 times from your jumps but make more revolutions in the spins or something else and win. People don't understand it.
    That happened...once?

    Just shut up and skate Johnny.

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