02/07/2014 OT


John Garvin "Johnny" Weir-Voronov[1] (born July 2, 1984) is an American figure skater. He is the 2008 World bronze medalist, a two-time Grand Prix Final bronze medalist, the 2001 World Junior Champion, and a three-time U.S. national champion (2004–2006).

Weir was born in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, to John and Patti Weir. He is of Norwegian heritage.[2] He has a brother, Brian, who is four years younger.[3][4] Weir was raised in Quarryville, Pennsylvania, a town in southern Lancaster County.[5] As a child, he was a successful equestrian, competing with his pony, My Blue Shadow, an Arabian-Shetland cross.[6][7]

Soon after Weir began skating at the age of 12, his family moved to Newark, Delaware so he could be near his training rink and coach.[8] In the summer of 2007, he moved to Lyndhurst, New Jersey, and began training in nearby Wayne.[9] Weir was an honor roll student at Newark High School and studied linguistics part-time at the University of Delaware before dropping out to concentrate on his skating.[8][10] He is a self-proclaimed Russophile who admires the skating style and culture of Russia[11] and taught himself to speak and read the language. He also speaks some French.[12]

In July 2008, the United States Figure Skating Association and Skating Magazine announced Weir as the winner of the 2008 Reader's Choice Award for Skater of the Year, an annual trophy voted upon by skating fans and awarded to the American skater or skating team whose achievements were of the highest merit in the previous season.[13] In 2010, Weir won this award again.[14]

Weir has two pet chihuahuas named Bon-Bon and Vanya, and is a collector of Russian Cheburashka memorabilia.[15] He has an interest in fashion design and, in addition to designing some of his own skating costumes, has designed ice dancing costumes for Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov,[16] show costumes for Oksana Baiul[17] and Yuzuru Hanyu's costume for his free program of 2010-2011 season.[18]

He is Roman Catholic and open to other belief systems, including practicing Kabbalah, stating, "I believe in anything good, and anything that can teach love".[19][20]

During the 2010 Olympics two Canadian broadcasters commented on Weir's flamboyant demeanor, made derogatory comments about his sexuality, and questioned his gender.[21][22]

Weir's sexual orientation had long been the subject of media speculation; however, when asked about his sexuality, Weir responded "'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."[23] In his memoir Welcome to My World, published January 2011, Weir officially came out as gay, citing a string of gay youth suicides as one reason for his decision: "With people killing themselves and being scared into the closet, I hope that even just one person can gain strength from my story."[24][25][26][27][28]

In 2010 a main-belt asteroid, discovered in 1995 by T. V. Kryachko, was officially named after the skater, at the suggestion of his Russian fans.[29]

Weir married Victor Voronov – a 28-year-old Georgetown Law graduate of Russian Jewish descent[30][31] – in a December 2011 civil ceremony on New Year's Eve in New York City.[32][33] Weir said, the "wedding [will be] in the summer, but all the official stuff is done now!"[34] Weir's representative said, "The couple has taken the new surname, Weir-Voronov, but professionally, Johnny will continue to be known as Johnny Weir."[33] In February 2012, Weir stated that he was considering converting to Judaism.[35]

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