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Weir, Johnny (b. 1984)  
 
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Weir wound up in fifth place. As he walked through a press area, one reporter asked him how he felt about losing "America's medal" while another wanted his reaction to an Internet poll on whether people cared that he might be gay.

Coach Hill, wrote Weir, "extricated me from the press conference from hell."

Sponsor Message.

After completing required drug testing, Weir emerged from the building, saw his mother at the security barrier, raced over to her, and hugged her through the bars, apologizing for his failure to win a medal after all the family's sacrifices. Her response, he recalled, was "Honey, you made it to the Olympics. I've never been more proud of you in my life."

After the Turin Olympics, Weir ventured into other areas of endeavor, appearing on Kathy Griffin's reality show, My Life on the D-List, on the Bravo Network, as well as doing photo shoots for fashion magazines. He also joined the Champions on Ice tour in order to "pay the bills." Weir chose as his music Frank Sinatra's "My Way" because, he recounted in his memoir, of "its obvious symbolism."

For competition, Weir was in need of a new choreographer because Tarasova had gone back to Moscow. He chose another Russian woman, Marina Anissina, who had been a gold medalist in ice dancing at the 2002 Olympics, but the partnership proved infelicitous because Anissina was determined to turn Weir into a more "masculine" skater in terms both of the technical manner in which he executed the elements of his program and of artistic considerations, including choice of theme, music, and costuming.

Prior to the U.S. National Championships in January 2007, the matter of Weir's sexuality again arose as an issue when Mark Lund, an openly gay man and the founder of International Figure Skating magazine, stated during an appearance on the cable show Nancy Kerrigan's World of Skating, "I can't wrap my head around how overtly out he is without saying he's out. I'm sorry, but I don't think he's a representative of the community I want to be a part of." He went on to disparage Weir's costume choices and to praise Lysacek's "masculinity on the ice."

As the national championship began, the notoriously homophobic Pastor Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church led a rally protesting the presence of gays in figure skating. Although the group was not specifically targeting Weir, his mother feared for his safety.

Weir himself feared for his long program, over which he had clashed with Anissina because he felt that it did not suit him. In the end he finished badly—for him—but still got onto the medal podium with a bronze.

Realizing that he needed a new direction, Weir sought a different coaching team, including a replacement for Coach Hill, which was a difficult decision for him because of his appreciation for her nurturing role in his early development.

Weir considered returning to Coach Tarasova but feared adverse reaction from the American skating establishment if he lived and trained in Russia, and he was, in any event, unable to afford to do so. He felt that a Russian coach was best suited to his athletic and artistic needs, however, and so was delighted to sign on with Galina Zmieskaya, who had Olympian Viktor Petrenko as an assistant coach.

Weir was happier with the new team, and he excelled at the 2007-2008 National Championship, finished in a tie at the top with Lysacek, each of them having—most improbably—244.77 points. Tie-breaking rules gave the gold to Lysacek and the silver to Weir, who also won a bronze medal at the World Championship, which was important because it meant that three American men could compete in singles at the next Olympics. Weir wrote that he "was ecstatic . . . [that] I came through for my country."

Early in the next season, Weir took ill before a competition in Korea. He managed to complete his program but afterward was rushed to the hospital to be treated for dehydration and exhaustion. In a weakened condition and having undergone a severe weight loss, he skated to a disappointing fifth in the 2008-2009 National Championship.

Meanwhile, filmmakers David Barba and James Pellerito had completed their documentary about Weir, Pop Star on Ice (2009), and aired it at summer film festivals. The Sundance Channel bought the film and used it as the first episode of a reality show, Be Good Johnny Weir.

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