Home > Uncategorized > Johnny Weir Can’t Overcome Poor Judging & His Sport’s Hypocrisy

Johnny Weir Can’t Overcome Poor Judging & His Sport’s Hypocrisy

I’d like to have written about Evan Lysacek’s upset performance that up-ended perennial favorite and skating phenom Yevgeny Plushenko. However, it was unfortunately – for me anyway – overshadowed by judging that went beyond questionable and into the realm of ridiculous.

Johnny Weir, the controversial skater whose flamboyant personality, statements, and costumes have put him in hot water with the skating establishment and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (after wearing a costume with fur trim at Worlds), gave the performance of his life on Thursday evening and earned a standing ovation for his efforts. And yet, once again he was woefully underscored and put in fifth place despite having a program with a higher level of difficulty than NBC’s commentary team seemed willing to acknowledge.

Weir skates against his competitors and a skating establishment that seems ashamed of its own roots and influences.

The bias that judges, commentators, and others in the sport have against Weir is perplexing to many who would expect the sport to embrace someone like Weir, a competitor who relishes in the flamboyance of the sport’s traditions. The truth is, though, that the sport has built within it a Catch-22: it is flamboyant, yes, but it does not want you to associate with it the aspects of a sub-culture that has influenced it so greatly over the course of its history. Figure skating is the ethnic trying to hide his or her culture and heritage, and Weir is the one proud enough of who and what he is to throw it in their faces, as if to say “this is who we are, so what are you ashamed of?”

Note – Edited to reflect the fact, as many commenters pointed out, Weir has not in fact come out to the media. My apologies for the error.

That is not to say that all male figure skaters are homosexual. Actually, it’s my understanding that the majority of them actually aren’t. However, there is a element of the sub-culture that is deeply, and rightfully, ingrained in the sport. However, if one dares to remind them of it, he’s brandished an enemy of tradition rather than a champion of its roots.

For a sport that has emphasized that it combines technical finesse with raw athleticism and artistry, it seems to be punishing a competitor who is a unique creature in not just figure skating, but in the world of sports. Weir is, in the truest sense of my personal definition of the term, an artist. Sure, we may laugh at some of his outlandish ensemble choices and make comparisons to Lady Gaga’s unashamed displays of ludicrousness, but there is no fashion element to figure skating in terms of scoring. The thematic costumes in figure skating are a construct of an evolution of tradition, and not a requirement. Despite this fact, for some reason Weir’s choice of clothing upsets traditionalist organizers and judges despite the fact that there is nothing offensive or suggestive in any of his ensembles.

Most mystifying – or tragic – of all is that Weir is a fantastic athlete. You will not find a better pure skater in terms of movement on the ice. They’re pronounced, graceful, and poetic. He moves as if he himself is fluid, channeling his passion and the frustrations of his skating career to create a self-portrait of courage and unabashed independent expression. He is a painter, and his canvas are the eyes of the audience. However, despite an element of artistry in the sport, he is not given credit for this in commentary or scoring.

One constant criticism leveled against Weir is that his programs are far too simplistic and lack the degree of difficulty necessary to put him on a podium. However, while I have not seen him perform a quad with the consistency of a Plushenko, he seems to continually perform jumps equitable to other competitors and he doesn’t seem to have great difficulty with them. Another criticism his detractors levy against him relate to Transitions, which is a term used in figure skating and other sports when someone has to construct an argument against an athlete they simply don’t like.

That is not to say that he doesn’t have his faults as a skater, or that he skates perfectly every time out. I am willing to concede that Plushenko, a freak of nature in and of himself, is a better skater. I will not deny either that fellow American Evan Lysacek skated better on this night. However, I honestly feel that to deny Weir was in their company in these Olympics is folly.

To give you an idea of how ridiculous the scores tonight were, let’s look at who ended up placing ahead of Weir.

* DAISUKE TAKAHASHI (Japan, Bronze Medal) Takahashi fell on his first jump in the program, a quad attempt, and landed squarely on his ass. I mean that literally. He slid on his ass for what seemed like an eternity, got up, and finished a program that otherwise had the same degree of difficulty as Weir. His scores were so inflated that NBC cameras actually caught him reacting with shock, not entirely pleasant, that he had scored as highly as he did despite a bad fall and other errors.
* STEPHANE LAMBIEL (Switzerland, 4th Place) Lambiel bobbled nearly every landing and mailed in all his other elements. The crowd seemed to drift off into sleep as Lambiel nearly missed jumps, stumbled from one element to another, and skated in slow motion.
* PATRICK CHAN (Canada, 5th Place) In addition to a fall, Chan’s performance was all over the place. It was unfocused, sloppy, and he couldn’t seem to hit anything right. The commentators were full of excuses for Chan: he’s injured, he changed coaches, he’s too young. He wasn’t too young, however, when he won Silver in the World Championships last March.

Ridiculous.

It’s a shame, not just for Weir but for the sport. Lysacek doing the unthinkable and unseating the dominant Plushenko (the perfect heel for the sport) was a great story that should have dominated the evening. Unfortunately, like in Turino, the judges once again made themselves the story. MMA fans will know what I mean when I say that we can at least take solace in knowing that there are Cecil Peoples in every sport, in every country, and at every level.

In spite of this travesty, my hat is off to Johnny Weir. Johnny, you’re unapologetic about who you are and what you do. You excel at your sport, but you’re also enough of an artist to want more than what the hypocritical establishment has elusively pre-ordained. You are in a sport that often becomes a parody of itself in terms of pretentiousness and cheese, yet punishes you for embracing the better elements of both. You deserved better, but more importantly you were better. You may not go home with a medal from these games, but you will go down in history for pushing the sport to a new level.

And for that, you get a Gold Medal from me. Except…well, it’s not actually gold. And it’s not a medal either. It’s a certificate from BureauOfCommunication.com:

Congratulations!

About these ads
Categories: Uncategorized
  1. katya
    February 19, 2010 at 1:47 am

    Hey,
    I loved your article, exactly my feelings, I 100% agree and thank you for articulating this so well. I must note, though, that Lambiel is in fact not Swedish but Swiss.
    Katya

    • February 19, 2010 at 1:50 am

      Katya – thanks for the kind words and for pointing out the (most embarrassing) error! I’ve fixed accordingly.

  2. Linda
    February 19, 2010 at 1:51 am

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. Johnny skated TWO excellent programs! They weren’t just excellent technically – they were pieces of art. Tonight’s free skate was one of the most beautiful programs I have ever seen.

  3. Megan
    February 19, 2010 at 2:09 am

    I find it hard to agree with this; however, I do agree that Weir is a compelling skater to watch. He brings such charisma to the ice that some of the other competitors do not have.

    But you have to look at the short program. Takahashi, Lysacek, and Plushenko had technically more difficult programs that were all executed near if not perfectly. And overall all three skate more “dangerously.” Each of the three scored about 8 points more than Weir. So in order for Weir to get third he would have needed a 165. And I just don’t think that he deserved that. I would, however, would have placed him ahead of Chan and Lambiel as both had uneven performances.

    And I am probably in the minority, but I find Takahashi more compelling to watch. In terms of choreography I don’t think he can really be matched. He skates so beautifully and his body is just fascinating to watch move.

    Was Johnny Weir underscored? I don’t know that I could really say. But he will always be one of the most compelling skaters on the ice.

  4. February 19, 2010 at 2:15 am

    This was a fantastic article that really puts things in perspective. I forwarded to both facebook and twitter. To put this into further perspective — Johnny didn’t skate well at Tourino during his free skate… and still finished 5th. He skated much, much better this time around and finished a spot worse. One could say, “well, everyone did better,” but after Lysacek and Plushenko, that’s just not true. The bronze medalist did poorly and got a hugely inflated score tonight — and the other two who finished ahead of Weir didn’t perform nearly as well as Weir in either the long or short skate.

    The scandal with the judges in Tourino was absolutely outrageous, but they were so ugly that the media turned it into headlines and the sport forced did a lot to clean itself up (some would even say too much with the new scoring system). This scandal may not be quite as openly outrageous — no score trading took place — but it may be even more nefarious: not only does it *embrace* unethical behavior by so brazingly propping up the others that night while simultaneously low-balling Weir…. but what does it say to all the young figure skaters out there who want to go out there and do their own performances? It tells them to either give up or fit in a tiny pigeon hole. In a lot of ways, this kind of a scandal — which not only the Olympics and figure skating is covering up, but also the MSM (by not reporting it) — is actually *worse* than what went on in Tourino, certainly effecting far more figure skaters out there.

  5. February 19, 2010 at 2:43 am

    Thank you for this excellent post about Weir. I’ve been shocked at NBC’s coverage of figure skating–they ignored Weir so completely that I didn’t even realize he was in the Olympics this year until just before the short program. And even after he skated very well–and the commentators grudgingly admitted he had been–they *still* didn’t talk about him in promors. It was ridiculous.

    Lambiel skated a breathtaking short program with mind-blowing skillful spins, so that put him a couple points higher that way. But I agree that he was uncharacteristically stiff and heavy landing on his jumps tonight, and Weir should have ended up ahead of him and Chan.

    As he was skating his beautiful free skate, I actually thought Weir had a chance of getting on the podium. It blew my mind when he ended up 6th, but Takahashi got scored up and Weir scored down.

    I loved your comments on the “technical” criticisms and the meaning of “transitions”…lol. I think you hit that one right on.

    I admire Weir for being so unabashedly himself. He loves the sport, loves the beauty and art of it, and it’s pretty sad when the general public offers him more of his deserved admiration than the people actually IN the sport–people who should have a greater understanding and appreciation of what he brings to the sport.

    The extra beauty of Johnny is that he is happy even without the medal. He knows he skated a personal best, he knows that he wowed the crowd, and he knows he’s got nothing to be sorry for. I love that he gently shushed the booing crowd when he got low scores. It doesn’t matter what the judges say–he knows what he did out there.

    Thank you again for your wonderful and articulate post.

  6. February 19, 2010 at 3:26 am

    Thanks for writing your piece. Johnny got hosed is right! How can a guy who slid for home plate win any medals? It’s outrageous! I’ve been following figure skating since the Peggy Fleming era and I’ve never seen such a travesty. I hate to say it, but the judges and skating community hate Weir. I don’t personally dig him either, but he is one of the best men’s skaters the U.S. has produced in the past 20 years!

  7. Deborah
    February 19, 2010 at 5:40 am

    I cried when I realized tonight that Johnny was still sixth. He was flawless except for one spin and the other guys ahead of him didn’t deserve the scores they got. Johnny delivered the goods when it really counted and that’s what really matters. Also, I did notice that this whole week leading up to the performances, they never showed Johnny in even one promo. I think Evan paid them off and I think there should be an investigation into tampering with the judges. Evan did not deserve being in second or first. He was awful and is so boring. He is also mean to Johnny and everyone else. He is the one with the bad attitude and the huge ego. I hope he retires soon, so I don’t have to watch him anymore. I think Johnny will do great things when he retires and I also think we will see in Sochi competing. Did anyone notice Evan sniffling like he had snorted cocaine before this competition?

    • February 19, 2010 at 8:41 pm

      I don’t think Evan Lysacek even has the money to pay off sponsors, judges et al. And I don’t think he was coked up on the ice.

    • JamieC
      February 21, 2010 at 7:25 pm

      It would be much better Deborah dear if you book a ticket to Fashion Week in New York (as should the idiot who write this column) and quite frankly stopped making comments about something that it is quite obvious something you know nothing about. Being a “nice” skater, which Weir is, does not make you a champion; it makes you a “nice” skater.

      Have you bothered to reviewed the new ISU rules know as IJS regulations, Weir did not follow them, he has a Russian coach and it appears as with Plushenko they make up their own standard and expect the world to follow. I’m sure with the more than small chance the Russian Federation informed Pleshenko was informed that as they did not have a man that could metal he should return to competition, “OR ELSE” the pension, the apartment, the cars could be a thing of the past. As to Johnny Weir, his love of Russia is well known, possibly he should have considered changing countries he has managed to bring a not too pleasant perspective to skating in this country, retiring can’t come too soon, Possibly by then uninformed individuals such as you will find another sport to cry over, loving the underdog is fine but get your facts straight before you make a total fool of yourself as you have with these sophomoric comments !

      • February 21, 2010 at 9:59 pm

        ” (as should the idiot who write this column)”

        “Idiot who write?” If you’re going to call someone an idiot, perhaps you should do so in a statement that’s at the very least grammatically correct. I won’t even touch the rest of your post.

        I suggest you stick to Xanga or another website that has very little adult involvement, because clearly you’re incapable of being an adult towards someone who disagrees with you.

  8. Lea
    February 19, 2010 at 8:11 am

    I didn’t know that Weir was “openly gay”. I don’t recall him ever coming out?

    In any case, I completely agree with you. While it wasn’t his best performance, he certainly deserved to win a place higher than 6th.

    It is interesting to hear that NBC ignored Weir, because the Australian Channel Nine coverage of the men’s figure skating actually promoted him more than the other skaters. They even showed the trailer to his show. They were probably just trying to make up for the homophobic remarks they made the other night, but it’s better than nothing.

  9. tyler from VA.
    February 19, 2010 at 8:55 am

    The judges of the men’s figure skating may know a lot about skating, but the fact that they allow their politics influence the scores of these skaters makes them absolutely incompetent. Not to mention very small people. Mr. Weir is fully aware of what they are up to but yet handles it with such grace and composure. Mr. Weir is an outstanding athlete and artist. The judges may think that they have gotten away with this dirty piece of hate and discrimination. However, history will remember them as small, petty people that were able to express their hate in this most important venue. History will remember Mr. Weir as a true American; at his best when things are at their worst.

    Mr. Weir, you may not come home with a metal, but you will come to thanks of a grateful nation. You will return with the solemn that must be yours to have skated with such courage and dignity.

    • LSekhmet
      February 19, 2010 at 9:52 pm

      Very, very well said.

      Thank you, Kevin, for your article. I agree.

      Johnny Weir deserved the bronze. He out-skated Takahashi, Lambiel, Chan, and Oda — all of whom got _better_ presentation (Program Component Scores, the old artistic mark) scores than Weir even though Oda finished _seventh_ — and his program was beautiful. He ran into a rut on the ice during his spin yet came to a graceful, albeit unplanned, stop, and it didn’t get in the way of his program at all. What else could he have done?

      He skated a flawless program otherwise with seven clean triple jumps, including two beautiful and flawless triple Axels, had a triple-triple combination (Lutz and loop), and his artistry and skating skills were second to _none_. He deserved the bronze medal, and he was shafted.

      The USFSA is wrong if they do not demand justice in this matter, because Mr. Weir was shafted, big-time, and did not deserve it. Weir is a superlative skater, terrific athlete, and obviously a great sportsman and role model for children (shushing the crowd gently after skating “the performance of his life!” as called by the usually low-key Scott Hamilton toward Weir, yet getting terrible marks). The USFSA should be appalled by their inaction with regard to Weir; he deserved bronze, he should get bronze, and I demand justice.

  10. Annie Kokkoris
    February 19, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Love, Love, Love your thoughtful blog regarding Johnny Weir. I agree with so many of your eloquent words. It was such a high and low in a matter of minutes watching the olympics last night. Then I just got angry. You putting into words how I felt inside, really helped. After reading it, I just wanted to yell “F*ck, yeah!” And I’m not even a curser!

  11. cally
    February 19, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    I so agree with you. Johnny was robbed. He was by far the best free skate program last night hands down. The most creative, emotive, you name it, he nailed it. Why a flawless performance with or without a quad didn’t warrant higher scores only proves that the oly judges are homophobic with a captial H. ridiculous that he has done more to bring attention to figure skating— ala mohamed ali style that would have made howard cosell proud. he in the end will laugh all the way to the bank because his creativity transcends the narrow minded world of figure skating.

  12. Leslie
    February 19, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Yes and Yes. You spoke for me and my feelings. The whole thing made me ill because clearly the judges were biased.
    Johnny is gold to me!

  13. BrianC
    February 19, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    You took the words right out of my mouth. I believe Johnny was the last man left of the greatest male figure skaters and unfortunately the establishment that he gave so much to, took it all away from him last night. I’m happy that he got a standing ovation for both nights and that the audience booed at both of his scores. When you complete a performance that you did exceptionally well, you feel it in your gut and in your heart and you can’t control your emotions when you end your performance. When you see Japan and Switzerland finish their dance they both looked like they knew they screwed up major. But when Weir completed, he knew, he knew he killed it that night. The entire audience knew it. But those scores do not reflect what we all saw Johnny do. He was magical. Figure skating today looks all the same and I understand they are trying to use the point system to nail down all the technical moves, but then you have a factory shop of the same dances in each performance. What Weir has is the spark from what people fell in love with skating to begin with. He did all the technical moves but with complete grace and so effortlessly, that you forget about that aspect and just focus on the emotion that he pours out onto the ice. That’s what other skaters lack.

    The figure skating community has gotten a lot of crap about their sport being “gay” and sometimes not even considered a real sport and I know that’s why they don’t want a “flamboyant” guy like Johnny getting attention in their establishment. I have been watching figure skating my entire life, it is something I look forward to when I see it on tv, but i’m sad to say that I will never watch it again. As I said before, Johnny was the last man left of the great artistry and athleticism in figure skating and it’s not worth my time to see miserable unhappy robots following a map.

    • February 19, 2010 at 11:55 pm

      Love this blog post, and also this comment. Well said, both of you.

      Now my two cents: Long after Lysacek and Plushenko are just footnotes in some paperback sports trivia book at the local dollar store, Johnny Weir will still be going strong, a success at whatever he puts his heart, mind, and soul into–and people will love him the world over for it.

      Johnny, you were grace, power, brilliance, and poignancy in your mesmerizing performance. You are the champion in the eyes of the world.
      And no stodgy, stone-cold, prejudiced judges or prissy little points system will ever change that.

      You are a beautiful soul. Thank you for sharing yourself with the rest of us, and inspiring us all to fearlessly be who we are.

  14. Jessica
    February 19, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    I was a competitive skater, and I have been the victim of blatantly biased judging in the past, yet I don’t believe Johnny Weir’s scores were all that undeserved. He is a great skater, and great for the sport (hello media attention!!!). It would not benefit the judges to purposely screw him.

    He messed up a combination spin, leaving out an entire element in that spin (change-leg). That’s a required move. You don’t complete a required move and you get no points for it. Skaters at that level DO NOT mess up spins. His program wasn’t very difficult, choreography-wise. His footwork was exceedingly simple, and there was relatively little of it leading into jumps, which got a lot of points for the skaters who finished ahead of him. His jumps were fine, but like I said no added difficulty. He didn’t do a required element. That’s a lot of deductions. They add up.

    • February 19, 2010 at 8:14 pm

      I see your point and concede to your expertise in the field. I still maintain, however, that the three skaters above him were overscored. Chan and Lambiel in particular were a complete mess out there. Chan both nights, in fact.

    • LSekhmet
      February 19, 2010 at 9:58 pm

      Tell me, Jessica, what was he supposed to do with that rut on the ice?

      Second footwork passage was scored too low; I agree the first one seemed a bit simplistic, but it fit his music and mood.

      Seven triples including two triple Axels and a triple-triple combination, landed flawlessly, deserves consideration for bronze. Artistic marks (PCS scores) too low; the spin that was stopped too soon due to the rut on the ice wasn’t his fault, and he even came to a stop gracefully. Skating skills mark in the PCS was particularly too low; none of the PCS marks are supposed to worry about transitions. (That’s for the other side of the mark. Usually, if the judging makes sense with Weir, his PCS marks are higher than his technical merit, yet they weren’t last night even with the spin that didn’t quite come off because of that rut on the ice — Hamilton said it was a rut, mind, not me.)

      Weir is fabulous for the sport. He’s a great skater, an excellent athlete, and is obviously a good sport about it all — he’s far less upset about it than I am, one of his fans that he’s never met, never talked to, and someone who really never talked so much about Weir in my life . . . this was unjust. Kevin is right that the others (Lambiel, Chan and Takahashi) were overscored in their marks — particularly PCS marks — compared to Weir if indeed Weir’s marks were accurate, which I don’t believe they were.

    • ESkate
      February 21, 2010 at 8:49 pm

      Jessica:

      You are right on !

      All very good intelligent points that no one who have made comments on this site seems to understand. There is more to this level of skating then a ring of roses on your head when you finish, Give me a break !

      Some people just did their own graves by there ridiculous actions.

  15. TampaZeke
    February 19, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Kevin, could you please provide a link to a report where Weir came out as gay? It’s my recollection that he has gone to great lengths to NOT say that he was gay. In my opinion, a person who never answers questions about his sexuality and, if he is gay, goes to such lengths to avoid saying so, isn’t “openly gay” in the sense that you state. He would be better identified as a flamboyant, perhaps “gender bending” performer of undisclosed sexual orientation.

    I agree with everything else you said and I have no doubt that the suspicion of his being gay is reason enough for the judges to screw him over time and time again; particularly international judges.

  16. Cheyyene Voure
    February 19, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    I found my self on the edge of my seat for both Johnny’s short and free skate programs and equally outraged at his score for both. I am livid that the judges would show such bias. At least I’m not the only one who noticed that almost everyone who placed above Johnny did fall on their arse. Some more than once. It’s unfair. He deserves the bronze. He was robbed of his place on that podium.

  17. Jesse
    February 19, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    I don’t believe Johnny is openly gay, just openly flamboyant. When pressed on this subject, he responded:

    “I don’t feel the need to express my sexual being because it’s not part of my sport and it’s private. I can sleep with whomever I choose and it doesn’t affect what I’m doing on the ice, so speculation is speculation.”

  18. Margaret
    February 19, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    I agree with a lot of what you wrote in this blog (I’ll go back and re-read this when I’m not reduced to skimming quickly in the 1-2 minutes pre-rehearsal), but (and someone please correct me if I’m wrong) I could have sworn that Johnny Weir’s never announced that he was gay.

    • February 19, 2010 at 8:07 pm

      See, I’d thought that he had. My mistake.

  19. Eric26
    February 19, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    I think everyone’s judgment is a bit clouded here. Weir fans should definitely still have a bad taste in their mouth from the last Olympics, but if you are really a Weir fan I don’t see how you can deny that his performance in Vancouver was nowhere near his best (I was a bit bored watching it, although not nearly as bored watching the Russian). In fact, a lot of the men didn’t seem to be at their best. Plushenko seemed a bit overconfident; he could have had the gold if he was skating like how he normally does. I will admit that Patrick Chan’s score seemed too high… he was a bit of a mess on the ice, which was sad to watch.

    Oh, and Weir is not openly gay. It’s obvious, but he’s never said it.

  20. Ivey
    February 19, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    The only comforts: finding the words of others that prove you weren’t the only one incredulously angry and sad; and that somehow, Johnny seems to have been prepared for it, and found a smile and a wave for us anyway!~~bless him! Brian C., you saved me time typing because that is exactly exactly my thoughts, until you say you won’t watch anymore. If we surrender, we let Johnny and other great ‘artist’ skaters just get walked on all the more. Make noise!

  21. Delonjo
    February 19, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    I disagree with this screed.

    Johnny put together two good programs during the competition. That fact is not in question. However, both programs were skated rather slowly and his edging and skating skills, while very high, have been surpassed in recent years. I found myself rather bored with his pretentious programs this year. I’ve had no problem with Johnny’s antics over the years (btw, I’ve been watching skating since way before the Tonya/Nancy Saga) but I’ve never witnessed him set the ice on fire. What I have witnessed is him setting press conferences on fire. That’s not sport!

    Johnny is a great athlete but the skaters scored above him, overall, accumulated more points, and that is the name of the game–POINTS. Johnny’s programs, while pretty, lacked content that could gather points. His jumps were not perfect. He skated slowly and conservatively (same as Evan, IMO). I’ve seen him leagues better three years ago when he was actually pushing boundaries.

    In the end, no one is going to remember what placement Johnny came in. Only SkateNastics know the trivia of the skaters off the podium after the Olys. Johnny will have a fabulous post-skating career, but let’s not get out of hand.

    The three medalists skated better than Johnny. He didn’t deserve a medal. He deserved the self-respect that he earned with putting out the best performance that he can give. And that performance last night was the absolute BEST that Johnny could give. I’m sorry to break it to you but, just because it’s Johnny’s best doesn’t make it medal-worthy.

  22. Rashad
    February 19, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Weir lost because he is too controversial to be endorsed by businesses. He isn’t a role model. He is a loud mouth that disrespects the ethics of many. No one should care of he is gay or not or what he eats or likes. The Olympic judges were not going to let him through because of his attitude. Not a role model.

    Also, it would be great if someone would research things better. PETA did not get Weir to stop wearing fur. An older group, Friends of Animals did. He commented back to them all over the news. Ignorant to assume it was PETA. Poor journalism. Has to be said.

  23. Donald
    February 19, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    I agree with you that Johnny gave the performance of his career last night. I agree that it was flawlessly executed. I have been a fan for years and watched him through all of his ups and downs. I appreciate his candor and enjoy his flamboyance. I agree with Delongo. His programs at the Olympics, though brilliantly skated, were not especially brilliant in content. I don’t mean that he should have tried the quad, Evan didn’t and still got the gold medal. But compare his spinning with that of Lambiel and his footwork with Takahashi and you’ll see why he placed where he did.

    I’ve always been suspect of the judging in figure skating and I’ve watched for years. At least now everything is documented and the score sheets are available for review. The crime this years was Plushenko being on the medals stand. One day he’ll learn how to skate.

  24. stephanie
    February 19, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    In France commentators never ever mention Johnny weir, one of the best world skaters… I just don’t understand… they talk about takahashi, lambiel, new skaters but not about Weir. This is very sad. And shameful.

  25. Krista
    February 19, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    Johnny you skated for yourself and no judge can take that away from you! The audience new it, your coach new it and the moment the music ended you knew it too!
    Was it first place? No, but it sure as hell wasn’t sixth!
    Johnny regardless of how certain people see you, you are a hero and a role model! Hats off and job well done!

  26. Tommy
    February 19, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    I won’t get into the skating debate as I am not qualified to converse on such technicalities. However, I do know what moves me visually and aesthetically. Last night I was moved to tears by the sheer beauty of Johnny’s performance. He is such a class act in his athletic ability both as a skater and as a performer.

    Johnny Weir is just “himself” and in being who he “is” he is amazingly talented. I applaud his special spirit of independence and the support he has received from his mom and his wonderful Russian coach to become the amazing athlete, artist and incredible person he is today.

    On Monday I took a quick glimpse of him behind the scenes on the video clips on-line from the sundance channel. There I found yet more reasons to both admire him as an incredible skater and a remarkable person. His passion and intensity on ice is like a meteor, with flashes of brilliance that hark back to that incredible Russian ballet dancer Nijinsky.

    Part diva, part over the top artist, emotional, passionate, and with a burning intensely driven to be the best, I feel incredibly honored to have him represent the USA at the 2010 Olympics. Like so many of his fans I know he is a “winner” despite the vote of judges.

    • LSekhmet
      February 19, 2010 at 10:08 pm

      Tommy, I’m with you — except that while I’m a non-skater, I understand the CoP system as well as anyone who isn’t a skater. The artistic set of the mark for Weir was too low; even Sandra Bezic (commentator on NBC and figure skating choreographer) was too low. Some of that set of marks was _far_ too low.

      I don’t agree with the commentators who said that Johnny Weir’s edging and skating skills have been “surpassed” in recent years. I think a few have come up to where he is and match him; Lambiel is better in spins (I agree with that, even on an off night) and Takahashi was better on his footwork (but awful, awful, _awful_ in his spins — really terrible!), but Lambiel had a back problem and it showed with an off-night performance; Takahashi looked as if he was favoring his right leg, especially after that horrible fall on the quad attempt. Takahashi’s spins were really bad. They traveled. They looked awful. There was no center. The positions were bad. They were overscored.

      The judges can’t help the rut on the ice that caused Johnny to have to abort the first spin (gracefully, an unplanned stop that didn’t detract from the artistry of his performance); it’s a similar problem to Oda’s broken skate-lace. They have to take off for it in the case of Oda, and they can’t give Weir much credit for what he was attempting due to the rut in the ice, either — I get that.

      I do _not_ get the way too low PCS marks. Weir _always_ gets higher artistic marks (that’s what the program component scores are, the old artistic impression marks), and in this competition he didn’t in the long program. That’s unheard of, and even insane.

      I honestly don’t know if with fair marks in the PCS if it would’ve been enough for Weir to get bronze. I do know it would’ve been enough to put him ahead of, minimum, Lambiel, Chan and Takahashi on _this_ night in the long program; Takahashi had a lead from the short that may have still shut Johnny out for the bronze.

      But I believe the other skaters knew the result was BS. And it makes the nerves other skaters suffer from, like Jeremy Abbott, far more understandable to me — if they can do their best and get woefully underscored the way Weir did, no wonder they’re nervous wrecks!

      • LSekhmet
        February 19, 2010 at 10:09 pm

        Typed too fast there — even Sandra Bezic (figure skating commentator on NBC and choreographer) said the PCS (artistic) marks were too low. She is an expert. So it’s not just me. And it’s not just the audience, either.

        I do agree with those who said Johnny Weir skated the best he could possibly skate. I disagree with those who say he didn’t deserve the bronze even with the “performance of his career/life” (Scott Hamilton’s words, best paraphrase). Weir deserved that bronze. This is an unjust result.

  27. Robert
    February 19, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    Stop the conspiracy talk! Check the actual scores…Johnny’s free skate was scored only .20 lower than Takahashi’s, so pretty even with there, and he actually finished in 3rd on that night alone based on “executed elements” alone, above Takahashi, Chan, and Lambiel. The problem was, he started the free skate more than 8 points behind Takahashi, so playing even with him doesn’t cut it. And, his “program component score” was rated only 6th best – imho, it was pretty lukewarm compared to others. So, look at the actual scores…

  28. Alex Graas
    February 20, 2010 at 12:58 am

    It is a shame that the jury robbed Johnny of a deserving Bronze Medal.

  29. JamieC
    February 20, 2010 at 8:33 am

    Unless you have been in the trenches and understand the new IJS it would be better to observe and not comment,Weir was fortunate to place where he did, one fall by a skater does not place you in the bottom of the pack. The program is judge as a WHOLE. You need content that assures a higher placement, mens figure skating this year is much better than in past years, marks are given on all elements not just jumps, Weir skates well but there isn’t gut you need to win, better he should find a show to perform in, it is more his style then competition.

    • Amy
      February 20, 2010 at 2:13 pm

      Maybe we should not comment but we certainly can turn our TV’s off and not buy tickets! Yes I am new to Mens figure skating and have never seen such a mess!!! It appears this Olympic judging problem has been going on for years maybe that is why no one wants to watch it JamieC. I think you need an audience to support a sport. Maybe our thoughts should be considered.

      My 2 baseball playing sons and I saw Johnny Weir on “Real Sports” Then watched his movie, then decided to follow him at the Olympics. Now aren’t we the demographic figure skating is trying to capture. And look who we followed, the skater who is sapposedly doing all the damage to the image. Well we think he is an inspiration, an awsome athlete, extremely creative, and has a true sense of self. He is an excellent role model for my sons! Anyway, as complete amature viewers (but figure skating wants us) We thought Johnny should have won bronze. Look at the bronze winners expresion right after Johnny skated, it was a look of panic. I think he might have some knowledge of who out skated who. As amature viewers, the top skaters were very amusing to us, what was up with the not shaving on Tues. night? Was that my “I like women and I just got out of bed” look? What was up with the feathers Evan? You are really confusing us, are you a tough guy or not.

      We were deeply saddened to think this could have anything to do with Johnny’s personal life and that Judges of such an honorable organization could show such predjudices and biggetry. Another very hard lesson for my boys that I wasn’t expecting. As Figure skating fans we are done. But as Johnny Weir fans we are big ones. We know Johnny will overcome this hurdle with dignety and grace like he always does and we can’t wait to see it. Our hearts go out to him and his family.

      Kevin I love your blog I was so pleased to find some real insightful thoughts on this event that really upset me and my boys. Thank you.

      And Johnny always be you, we love you!

  30. Joel
    February 20, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    I agree 100%. The judging & underscoring of Weir was an embarrassment, and the commentary from Hamilton & the NBC team was almost as embarrassing in its failure to point that out. It’s a testament to Weir’s maturity and sportsmanship that he was very restrained when fielding questions about placing 6th. As much as I prefer Weir to Lysacek for personal reasons, were I to judge them at this competition, Lysack wins in my opinion. Pity the judges can make the same type of personal/professional distinction . Johnny was robbed, plain and simple.

  31. Juston Thouron
    February 20, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Bravo Kevin …. excellent piece. And your analysis of the skaters was spot on. It is as if the judges were saying “We don’t want THAT kind of skating here” with their score (more accurately termed a verdict).

    You state (figure skating) “is flamboyant, yes, but it does not want you to associate with it the aspects of a sub-culture that has influenced it so greatly over the course of its history.” There was homophobia involved in their decision. Johnny is too out for them. And they punish him for it. Whatever they may have thought of the ‘simplicity’ of his routine, his performance of that routine was flawless. And Johnny knew it. You could see it on his face when he finished. His reaction to their scores was so assured and classy that I wonder if he knew he was going to be dismissed by the judges. He certainly acted as if he did.

  32. bpd
    February 21, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    Cecil Peoples still says Bisping won the bronze.

    • February 21, 2010 at 10:54 pm

      “And jumps don’t mean s***,” says Peoples.

  33. Jeong Hwa
    May 19, 2010 at 7:58 am

    Hello from South Korea :) I’m a big fan of Johnny Weir. I had always wondered what was so wrong about his performances that he had such ridiculous scores until I found out the reasons here at your blog. Biased judges… that’s it… I’m surely shocked.

  34. Nicky
    August 9, 2010 at 5:52 am

    The fact that short score 1. 90.xx, 2. 90.xx 3. 90.xx says all how much it was comedy competition. Long scores are also hilarious. Long tec scores were also exact same. and medal was decided on pcs score. True comedy. There are tons of other evidence, details of comedy judging, inconsistent judging. That is, if you go to detail judging, there are numerous evidence of comedy judging. How about ice dancing? How about LP Rochett and Mirai Nagasu? Go and see the FAIR judging. Yes, Johnny was so not robbed(sarcasm). Shall we look at who’s technicality were more correct, uncheating, textbook?

  35. November 10, 2011 at 7:44 am

    Thank god some bloggers can write. Thanks for this blog post…

  1. February 19, 2010 at 3:01 am
  2. February 20, 2010 at 7:38 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 31 other followers

%d bloggers like this: