It's easy to like, or dislike, such a polarizing figure as Johnny Weir.
The American skater and Olympic medal hopeful wears real animal fur, performs to Lady Gaga and in pink-ribboned corsets, and tells the US Figure Skating association that he doesn't really care if it doesn't like the way he operates.
Weir sees himself as a trailblazer, pushing the sport further into the realm of plumage and pomp. He's strongly resisted efforts to make figure skating more masculine to garner a new breed of viewer.
“I don’t think turning figure skating into some kind of X-Games event will promote figure skating to the male population,” Weir said in an interview with Outsports.com, a gay publication. “...I know Elvis Stojko was a big proponent for butching up men’s skating, but I have a hard time taking suggestions from a man who rocked purple pajamas in the Olympic Games and World championships."
Weir's flair extends off the ice, too.
He's walked the runway at New York Fashion Week, started his own clothing line of $95 jackets, appeared in a documentary called "Pop Star on Ice," and is now the star of the Sundance Channel's reality show “Be Good Johnny Weir,” which shows him alternately skating and shopping.
Now in sixth place and in striking distance of the Olympic podium, Weir' offers up plenty of colorful comments – but makes serious observations as well about what he'st trying to contribute to the sport:
“I want people to know how hard I work … and that we’re not men doing a women’s sport.”
On his rivalry with Evan Lysacek: “I'm not going to beat anyone up or hit someone in the knee.”
“My inspiration isn’t so much a person as an ideal. I want my skating to take people to another planet. I strive to drift away into a dream world.”