Believe It or Not, Skating Trumps Fashion for Johnny Weir

By Brandon Penny — 1/28/2010
“I design it from top to bottom. Everything that I’m in on the ice, I’ve drawn on paper that summer.” That is what figure skater Johnny Weir told WEBN about his costume choices.
This past summer, the 3-time U.S. champion dreamed up fox fur as a costume choice. Weir has used his costumes to express himself in the past, wearing everything from a “dead swan” to a “corset with pink accents and a big tassel.” But it appears that this time, he had gone too far. Animal rights activists were quick to criticize Weir for adding white fox fur to the left shoulder of his free skate costume at the 2010 US Championships.
Tuesday evening, Weir sent a tweet saying “When ‘Friends of Animals’ starts sending my costume designer hate faxes, it’s gone too far.”
His agent Tara Modlin has said that both Weir and his costume designer Stephanie Handler have received hate mail and death threats from many anti-fur activists, including the groups Friends of Animals and PETA.
Weir and Modlin are afriad the issue might cause someone to interrupt his plans for Vancouver. So Thursday, Weir announced that he would replace the fox on his costume with faux fur for the Olympics.
He said in a statement, “I do not want something as silly as my costume disrupting my second Olympic experience and my chance at a medal, a dream I have had since I was a kid.”
Weir is known worldwide as one of the most controversial figure skaters with his flamboyant persona and say-what-he-wants attitude.
In September, Weir told WEBN “It’s not me to stuff myself behind a wall and speak only when spoken to. If I have an opinion, I’ll say it. If I don’t like something, I’ll definitely tell you I don’t like it. Nobody is gonna kill me for saying what I want, they may have an issue with it. And I’m strong enough to deal with being myself 100% of the time.”
Since Weir is 25 years old, Vancouver will likely be his last Olympic appearance. He finished 5th in Torino. So this time Weir hopes to leave the Olympic ice with a medal around his neck. The skating world’s eyes will be on his costumes and his performances when he competes against the best February 16th and 18th. And the animal rights activists will be watching too…just for a different reason.

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