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Weir Pulls Out of Worlds; Rippon Named to U.S. Team

Johnny Weir has pulled out of the 2010 World Championships, which will be held in Torino, Italy, from March 22-28. Weir placed third at the 2010 U.S. Championships and was named to the United States's teams for 2010 Olympic Winter Games and 2010 World Championships. He placed sixth in Vancouver.

Weir will be replaced by two-time (2008-09) World junior champion Adam Rippon.

Weir’s 2009-10 season included a fourth-place finish at the 2009 Rostelecom Cup, a silver medal at the 2009 NHK Trophy and a bronze medal at the 2009-10 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final.

"I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support during the recent Olympic Games," Weir said in a writtne statement. "The 2010 Olympics will be a memory that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I feel that I skated two of the best performances of my career, making my coaches, my family and above all myself very proud. But I would not have been able to skate the way I did without the encouragement of my fans worldwide."

Weir said he was embracing his Olympic memories and has the momentum to move forward. He has decided it is "not advantageous" to compete at the World Championships. "After my sixth-place finish in Vancouver, I believe that I must take time to reassess my strategies and goals," Weir said. "While I understand the importance of competition, I feel that a short break at this time would be personally beneficial to me.

"I know all may not share my stance, but I can assure everyone that I will be re-energized after I’ve had time to rework my technique. I want to be a better competitor and win medals for my country, and I hope everyone can respect my decision to take this time off.

"Once again, I want to thank everyone who supported me this season. Specifically, I would like to thank my coaches Galina Zmievskaya, Viktor Petrenko, Nina Petrenko, Priscilla Hill and (choreographer) David Wilson for helping me make my Olympic dreams a reality. I would also like to thank my family and friends for their never-ending support. Finally, I want my fans to know that I love them and I work every day to make them proud. I will continue to work hard and I hope my work for next season will be the most exciting of my career."

Weir is a three-time U.S. champion. He claimed the bronze medal at the 2008 World Championships. During the 2008-09 season, he placed fifth at nationals and did not make the U.S. World team in 2009.

Rippon claimed the bronze medal at the 2009 Trophée Eric Bompard and finished sixth at the 2009 NHK Trophy. Following his fifth-place finish at the 2010 U.S. Championships, he took home gold from the 2010 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Jeonju City, Republic of Korea.

“I'm very excited and grateful for this opportunity,” Rippon said. “Since competing at Four Continents, I have been training well, and I will be ready to do my best in Torino.”

To our two photo shoots with Johnny Weir (one with Evgeni Plushenko), check out our OUR 2006 PHOTO SHOOT and see our AUGUST 2008 ALBUM.