Johnny Weir Talks to Movieline About Skating Politics, Lady Gaga and Life After the Olympics


After each Winter Olympics, American athletes typically get two weeks of residual attention before they disappear back into obscurity. That is not the case for Johnny Weir, the flashy figure skater from Coatesville, Penn., whose star has only grown brighter since the games ended on Sunday. Weir's docuseries, Be Good Johnny Weir is just over halfway through its first season on the Sundance Channel, and the skater, whose disappointing sixth place finish last week was largely believed to be political, is busy planning his future in skating, fashion and television.

Moveline caught up with the Olympian after a whirlwind day of press to discuss his experience with reality television, his friendship with Lady Gaga and the one clichéd performance that he still wants to try.

Congratulations on your performances in Vancouver. You've been doing so much publicity since Sunday. Does this even feel like a break from the Olympic schedule?

Absolutely not. I've been up and running since 5:30 this morning. I went to bed last night at 4 in the morning. I got up and went right to Regis & Kelly this morning, and I've been running around New York all day today. I think when we get to the beginning of summer though, I will have some time to myself.

I can't believe that Larry King asked you about your fierceness. How did you keep yourself from cracking up?

[Laughs] I did crack up! I mean Larry King, the cutest little old man there is, saying "fierce."

You kept it under control though.

Oh yeah. I mean, nothing shocks me anymore. I've embraced men in thongs, I've embraced women with padded bras. I mean, I can embrace Larry King saying "fierce."

Regarding Be Good Johnny Weir, you've talked about how you want your audience to see how lonely the life of an athlete is. But did making the show -- and having cameras around you all day long -- make the experience any less lonely?

No, because when you're in front of a camera, no matter how comfortable you are, you're always working and you're always "on." It's work. It's not like I'm relaxing in front of the camera really. The life of an athlete does have to be lonely and you have to be focused on your craft and what you do. Loneliness is just a sacrifice you make as an Olympic-level athlete.

Did you like the experience of filming the show overall? Would you do another season?

Well, we're actually talking now about perhaps doing a second season about how I transition into more of a normal lifestyle that isn't leading into the Olympic games that year. If I'm skating, if I'm performing in shows, if I'm competing again -- everything is kind of up in the air right now, but I definitely would be involved again. I think it is important for young people to see other young people on television doing something positive with their life, making positive changes and growing. I don't think there is enough of that on TV. I mean, we've got Jersey Shore, and I don't know what that teaches young kids. I've never watched an episode but I've heard it's uh, quite a show. There are just a lot of things like that on television that are not necessarily empowering to young people, and I want my show to be that kind of beacon for them.

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  • Velvet Crush says:

    Johnny Weir is the definition of elegance, both on and off the ice. Thank you for inspiring me with your wit, artistry, and perseverance.

  • stolidog says:

    He'd be an awesome inspiration if he chose to become a PETA spokesperson. Until

  • Jamie says:

    I love Johnny Weir even more after reading this, and I didn't think that was possible. He is such a rock star. God bless him.

  • Save Skating says:

    It's wonderful that Johnny Weir can take comfort in the crowd reaction (his "gold medal"), but the fact remains that the performance of the night at the 2010 men's Olympic competition was trashed by the judges for political reasons. For the record, Weir landed exactly the same number of triple jumps (and in very similar combinations) as Evan Lysacek, who won. The difference is that Johnny did them much better, more smoothly, with better takeoffs and landings. For that he was buried in 6th place.

  • thatgirlinnewyork says:

    lovely interview. it's heartening to read a line of questioning that doesn't challenge someone like weir to dis his fellow skaters or otherwise provide catty fodder. you've managed to allow johnny his humanity, something we can all appreciate.
    that said, when people like stolidog (previous comment) insist that johnny isn't redeeming unless he renounces fur or works for peta, it's rather disingenuous. do you feel you're winning anyone over with the bullying and violence? and do a hypocrisy check, please--if you're eating meat, wearing leather, a down-filled coat, or taking pharmaceuticals, these are all produced at the expense of an animal's comfort. equally, take a look at your carbon footprint: are you driving, buying packaged foodstuffs, cleaning your home with chemicals, or eating gmo produce? then you're contributing to the degradation of the planet for both humans and animals. the more you cut down your fellow human beings, the fewer humans there will be to protect the earth and animals you love--and we need both for peaceful coexistence.

  • stolidog says:

    I'm sooooooo bored with this....
    if you really, really think there are similarities between wearing leather and wearing mink, so be it.
    As far as I recall though, cows aren't skinned alive for their hides. Certainly, Foster farms and KFC do attrocious things to chickens, which is why I don't eat them, but that's beside the point.
    The point is that factory farming, while disgusting and vile, is the only way millions upon millions (and billions upon billions if you count the whole world) get meat, which is considered by most people to be a necessity.
    A coat made of clubbed and skinned-while-still-alive baby harp seals is not really in the same catagory of what's needed to survive.

  • Joy says:

    It's my experience that you can have all the human support in the world but at the end of they day the things you lost or didn't win still sting a lot. Johnny Weir has a lot of support here, from me and others, but I know that I would still be hurting if some silly political thing kept me from getting what I deserved. Especially if that was a friggin Olympic medal. So I don't feel like there's much I can say that will really make anyone feel better, other than I hope you rise all the way into stardom and I keep getting to see your face on the magazines in the check outline at Wallgreens. 😉
    And, guys, people have been skinning, eating, killing, and basically hurting animals for centuries. Go back and kick your ancestors or something and leave this guy alone. I honestly believe that if animals have the brain capacity to understand that their situation is wrong they would have done something about it themselves. Do you really think there are a lot of animals that would hesitate to kick your butt if they even felt threatened by you? And I had a horse step on my foot once, for no other reason than I was in the wrong place at the wrong moment. There doesn't have to be a good reason to hurt something, it happens anyway, every day. There are a whole lot of problems with our world and that is only one of them. Petroleum comes from the remains of dinosaurs, you know. Think about how many times your use oil based products a day. And you don't know if that dinosaur died painfully and even if it did, would you refrain from putting gas in your car of you had to get somewhere? The animal kingdom is based on a different rule than ours is nowadays: kill or be killed. I think we forget that a lot, and think that since we have more brain power, we are obligated to be better people. We aren't obligated, and we don't try to be better anyway, not in most things. Maybe it makes you feel morally more secure, but personally I really just don't care. I'll nom upon all the animal hides I want to, because that's my personal choice. You don't get to decide anything for me.

  • marcela says:

    Johnny is a spokesman for Childhood Obesity for the 'nPLAY Foundation so his involvement in charitable efforts is amazing!!!

  • pearl says:

    thank god you don't get to decide anything for the rest of us. I love Johnny Weir, but to get this upset and vitriolic in defense of his use of fur is sad. In your eagerness to defend our treatment of animals, you actually have trotted out most of the urban legends about them. Why not put all that indignance to good use and educate yourself. There is no shortage of information, much of it accurate, on the internet. Do your homework and take a deep breath before you get back up on your soapbox.

  • Yi says:

    Did you actually read the whole article and writing this STUPID comment?

  • Yi says:

    Did you actually read the whole article and writing this STUPID comment?

  • Anon says:

    Stephani had performances during the same time as the exhibition so she couldn't have made it there anyway. It's not like she can be two places at once. And she knew this way before she made a promise to Johnny to come see him. I know Stephani and she was just being nice. I adore Johnny. Just wish he would see it for what it is and stop acting so naive and just get over it.

  • hank920 says:

    Someone's comments here about eating meat as a matter of survival..THINK again.. People have for millenia and can survive without meat. If you want fur, you should be made to go out and hunt it down for yourself. If people were meant to have those things, they should be obligated to capture it in the wild and prepare it themselves. The other problem with meat is the way it has been mismanaged by the Monopoly of meat processing companies, right down to chickens. Rent the movie FOOD, INC. and see for yourself.The only reason we are not dying from old contaminated meat recently is the companies soak it in Ammonia first before packaging. Evan Lycseck wore feathers, and I am sure no bird died for him to have them. I applaud Johnny Weir for not bending to the establishment. But this is not about Leather or fur, its about Ice Skating and Johhny Weir.

  • MLD says:

    If you know Lady Gaga, then you'd also know how her name is actually spelled. Nice try.

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