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

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by TAHbKA, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. TAHbKA

    TAHbKA Well-Known Member

    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!
  2. manleywoman

    manleywoman podcast mistress

    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.
  3. Sylvia

    Sylvia Prepping for club comp. season!

  4. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

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

    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: Oct 16, 2012
  5. peibeck

    peibeck Simply looking

    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.
  6. TAHbKA

    TAHbKA Well-Known Member

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

    Sylvia Prepping for club comp. season!

    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.
  8. lala

    lala Well-Known Member

  9. manleywoman

    manleywoman podcast mistress

    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.
  10. nylynnr

    nylynnr Well-Known Member

    FWIW I suspect JW knows a bit more about IJS rules, than he lets on in this particular interview.
    PeterG and (deleted member) like this.
  11. Nomad

    Nomad Celebrity cheese-monger

    Statements like that make me question his reputation for being smart. Because that attitude is just plain stupid.
    mag and (deleted member) like this.
  12. caseyedwards

    caseyedwards Well-Known Member

    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.
  13. victoriaheidi

    victoriaheidi New Member

    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.
  14. Margaret

    Margaret New Member

    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.
    PeterG and (deleted member) like this.
  15. manleywoman

    manleywoman podcast mistress

    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.
  16. triple_toe

    triple_toe Well-Known Member

    I doubt he really doesn't know the rules. He just likes to mention things like that in interviews to show how :drama: 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 :blah:

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

    spikydurian Well-Known Member

    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?
  18. Simka

    Simka Active Member

    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.:confused:
  19. julieann

    julieann Well-Known Member

    ITA, I'm not buying it either.
  20. casken

    casken Well-Known Member

    6.0 was never like that. Never.
    That happened...once?

    Just shut up and skate Johnny. :rolleyes:
  21. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

    I actually believe him when he says he doesn't know the rules. How many times has Weir ever maxed out his points in a LP? Once in the Olympics LP? He constantly left points on the table and it was usually the easy points (as in easy to remember), like not bothering to do a 3 jump combo or leaving a combo out completely.
  22. Nomad

    Nomad Celebrity cheese-monger

    Not once. He came close in Vancouver, but CoP is exhausting and unfair and the judges hate him for being a special snowflake and he missed the bus because his make-up wasn't perfect and he felt a cold coming on and he was nervous going into the FS and his boots didn't feel right and and and....Am I really the only one who doesn't buy all this crap?
  23. VarBar

    VarBar Well-Known Member

    I have to wonder how many skaters do understand COP. Does Nathan Chen for instance know at the age of 13 what all those points he gets stand for? My guess is that he is just following the instructions from his coaches and has a plan B prepared in case Plan A doesn't work. Since Johnny says his coaches know the rules, he would just need to follow their instructions but either he can't do more complicated stuff or is just too lazy to do it. JMHO.
  24. PinkFeathers

    PinkFeathers Active Member

    Oh god, people STILL take Johnny's comments, all of them, at face value? Are you new? :rofl:
  25. lala

    lala Well-Known Member

    1. Johnny knows the IJS is mathematics! The COP is COLLECTING POINTS! That's what the "COP experts" are doing, they are trying to discover how skaters can win a lot of points! Yes, fall and fall, and can win. And the people don't understand , how is it possible? Johnny is right, absolute right.
    2. Johnny was robbed in Vancouver.
  26. manleywoman

    manleywoman podcast mistress

    I loved those programs. The Pricsilla Hill programs. That was the Johnny whose skating I adored and found so interesting.
  27. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member


  28. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    I love Johnny’s skating, butt, ... he def needs to do his CoP homework, that idiot!

    Ooooh that Johnny, he’s such a clueless CoP slacker. Good thing there are so many enforcers and rules mavens among fs fans these days! :cheer:

    Yeah, Johnny, sure, keep up with the excuses. :rolleyes: At this rate, you're going to induce "screaming" from manleywoman :scream:, and seriously, the only way you are going to make it to Sochi will be in a broadcast booth! :blah:


    Hey wait just a CoP minute here, Pink Feathers and lala, you do realize that you are in marked danger of being accused of being a Johnny uber! :yikes: Tsk tsk!

    :yawn: Johnny gets the award for most "tedious" figure skater of any generation. How could he have ever thought that boring he could bring even one fan back to figure skating. What a lousy CoP-brainless, forgetful single-loop lacking loser!

    Johnny of yesteryear … ((sigh)), never shall we see his like again. :wuzrobbed

    Pssst, they weren’t actually Priscilla’s “programs,” btw. And in any case, Pris unfortunately was never able to teach the divalicious one about CoP (for shame, for shame), nor how to be mentally strong, nor how to read bus schedules and how NOT to wear a gifted souvenir Soviet jacket :)angryfire boy, the nerve of that Tot creature) to U.S. figure skating practices, and yadda yadda …

    Galina, OTOH, knows how to rap Johnny’s fingers and get him to train. And, even if she did tamper too much with his gorgeous jumping technique, at least Galina understands all there is to know about CoP, which totally makes up for Johnny’s utter idiocy and irredeemable shiftlessness. :kickass:
  29. mag

    mag Well-Known Member

    I'm sure Nathan does understand. The kids that my dd skates with all know about the points. They love it! They work on spin combinations to max out points. They talk about jump layouts, transitions, choreography, skating skills. COP gives them power and control over their skating. It makes them take responsibility for their placements. Is there grumbling about marks? Yes. Do people still questions placements? Yes. But at least there are report cards to look at. The kids can clearly see what the other one did that got them more points. They go back to the practice rink after a competition and demand better choreography. They challenge jump layouts and don't just shut up and take what they are given. My dd doesn't have the jumps that some of her competitors have. She and her coach have been working on her spins to max out the points. They have increased her base value by a whole point just on spins.

    As to Johnny's comments that "People don't understand it." Thanks Johnny for assuming we are all idiots. I don't know and I don't care whether or not he gets it. But it pi$$es me off that he assumes other people don't get it.
  30. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member


    ^^ Yeah mags, give that Johnny dumb dumb what for. Enough of the d**ning him with faint praise in this thread ... that's just sooo outre. We gotta put on our boxing gloves for that Johnny pi$$ant.

    How dare he make a$$umptions about what other people under$tand about CoP!!! :angryfire