Watch a video of 2002 Olympic pairs co-gold medalist Jamie Sale discuss her opinion on Johnny Weir.
Here comes the controversy, I'm sure, but I'm in the same boat as Sale on some points. I feel like the last few years Johnny has been more concerned with gaining attention for just about every reason except for his skating (and this comes from someone who really enjoyed him for many years). If he has the opportunities to do something outside of the sport (which he most certainly has them lined up), then good for him. Skating isn't everything and not everyone in the sport wants to be completely involved in it for the rest of their lives-- I totally understand it from that perspective. But when you are competing, it really should be all about the skating, and nothing else. To his credit, he was one of the most talked about athletes during the Vancouver Olympic Games, and he put down two great performances. To the casual "every four years" fan, it probably seemed like he should have medaled, and I'm quite sure MANY people were watching the mens event for the sole purpose of seeing him. At the same time, I think a lot of people watching were doing so not based on his skating, but rather how he was "rocking the tassel" or changed his controversial long program costume to faux fur for the event. For those 'fans', it's almost like they were asking "What ridiculous thing is going to happen next with him?" I work at a bar and many of the patrons know my passion for skating. You can be sure that I heard several comments about Weir during the time of the mens competition in Vancouver, and most were to that effect. Eh, maybe any press is good press for figure skating at a time when viewing numbers have been decreasing from season to season.
Sale brings up wearing a Russian jacket and being all about Russia and not the United States, which she could have left out to still get her point across. I read just a few days ago on Johnny's official website Q&A that he received a Russian team jacket from 2006 Olympic pairs champion Tatiana Totmianina, and he viewed it as good luck-- hence why he wears it. Maybe a little bit of it is indeed to draw some attention to him, but there were more intriguing things he's done that she could have chosen to talk about in my opinion.
I asked a non-skating fan that has suffered through watching some of the major competitions with me over the last few months their opinion on Weir to get an outside perspective. The comments I received back were that, "he is a performer more than a competitor.. he seems to be using skating as a vehicle to get to other things." It's somewhat nice to know that someone else (that I promise has had no influence from me on this!) also feels how I do, and it sounds exactly like what the host during the Sale interview had to say, as well.
Everyone should be themselves. I understand Johnny's personality, I really do. I just think he overdoes the real level of "himself" sometimes. But I'm sure he could care less what Jamie Sale, or anyone else such as a blogger like myself has to say about him... that's not such a bad quality to have.