Weir Does It His Way

Johnny Weir

When Johnny Weir walked away from the Olympic stage after a disappointing sixth-place finish, he had no idea what his future held.

As it has turned out, he had no reason to be concerned. “The outpouring of love has been amazing since Vancouver. So many people want to help me get my projects off the ground,” he said. “I am so happy that so many doors are opening for me.

“I have been busier than I ever imagined and have not had two days in a row at home with nothing scheduled since Vancouver. I kind of love it but at the same time it is exhausting. There has been no vacation time, and I actually got shingles in the spring because I was so exhausted and so overworked.

“All those celebrities you hear about checking into rehab because they are so tired – I can totally see why they do it,” he added with a laugh.

Weir has been a hot ticket on the global show circuit this year, performing in Russia, Japan, China and the U.S. “I was honored that Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao invited me to perform in their wedding show and that Yu-Na Kim invited me to ‘All That Skate LA,’” he said. “The skating world is very small, and there have been shows that I have not been invited to because people do not like me.”

He has penned a book that he anticipates will be published at the end of the year. “The book is called ‘Welcome to My World.’ It is almost a tell-all book. As I was writing it, I realized a lot of people could sue me, so I had to edit it,” he said.

“I tell a lot of stories about myself that people have probably never heard. I am happy to share the things that I have failed at that may make me look bad or are a little embarrassing.” Weir said he will likely begin a book tour in early January.

Training has taken a back seat given his busy life. “I started writing skating practice into my schedule each day, otherwise it would not be happening,” he said.

Weir is headed to Australia in December to perform in a show. “I am hoping to have new numbers. I don’t like showing up and feeling nervous because I am not prepared.”

As for his competitive future, Weir is undecided. “I am taking a year off. If I come back, then great; if I don’t, then that is also fine, but it would be bittersweet because I feel I have so much unfinished business in competitive skating,” he said. “At the same time, my time has passed. So if I come back, it will be for the sheer joy of competing and performing.

“I was one of the most recognizable Olympians heading into Vancouver. Skating the performance of your life is one thing, and it does get you respect, but sixth place at the Olympics is not exactly a good springboard for doing other projects. I can’t think of another skater who placed sixth at the Olympics who went on to do the things that I have done.

“I am so thankful that I have always done things my way because people respect me for that. I really never imagined that this world would open for me. It is a very interesting time in the skating world for me. It is incredible.”

Originally published in December 2010