Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"With Eye on 2014 Olympics..."

Johnny Weir. Photo © David Ingogly @ Official Johnny Weir Blog.
December 2011. 
Photo © David Ingogly.
Please click photo twice for full-size view.
Or click here, then click again,
for super-size version.

Disclaimer re: the following: Just my opinion, my thoughts only, for what it's worth, as far as I know, void where prohibited, your mileage may vary, not intended to substitute nor replace the advice of legal counsel, if you experience the need to watch these gifs or these for longer than four hours please consult your doctor or just let let me join you, I kind of think he's got both eyes on Sochi not just the one cuz otherwise he'd look weird, be prepared for sudden and abrupt non sequiturs, yes Victor is gorgeous in real life, if three other people join me out here on this limb we may fall but the points we get for attempting a quad will far outweigh the deduction for crash landing, don't worry next time I'm just running some picspam.

So: He's back!! He's aiming to compete the next two seasons, with an eye on the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, as noted in the news articles reporting on his press conference.

So many feeeeeelings...

At the top of the list is: YAY!!! He's happy!! And I'm happy for him!!

But then it gets complicated.

Here's my dirty little secret: I'm not really a competitive figure-skating fan.

Well, I mean, of course I think figure skating is beautiful, and also one of the most underrated and demanding sports there is.

And of course if he's going to compete, I'm going to be supporting him and tuning in to watch every competition he's in if at all possible (harder than it used to be, since the audience has dwindled so much and barely any of it is televised anymore...). Maybe I'll even attend a few. (If that's a thing. Is that a thing? Like, can you go to this stuff? I know you can go to Nationals--US Figure Skating announced Tuesday that they're already selling tickets for NEXT year's Nats, to be held in exciting Omaha, Nebraska, January 20-27, 2013 [yes, I'm now following @USFigureSkating on Twitter. The things I do for that man. And yay!--a road trip from Chicago to Omaha in the dead of winter. What could possibly go wrong?]--but what about some of the other competitions? What are they? Where are they? When are they? And most importantly: How much do they cost? Clearly I need to do some research here beyond languidly scrolling through US Figure Skating's Twitter and noting that they have just 94,188 fewer followers than Johnny does....)

I'm really a fan of... Johnny. (You may have noticed this.)

To my untrained eye--which apparently can't process skating stuff correctly because no matter how I try, I can't watch his 2010 Oly programs and see what it is that put him in sixth place. (Don't show me those fussy little columns of numbers. I know what I saw.) All I see is something so breathtaking and so moving that it brings me to tears every. single. time.--he is the most phenomenal, naturally talented, absolutely brilliant skater ever. 

The only skater who makes me want to spend any time at all actually watching skating.

Which is not meant as disrespect toward other skaters. I couldn't even begin to do what any of them can do. I have enormous admiration for their talent, their hard work, their dedication. They're all amazing.

But for me, Johnny's skating is riveting in a way that no other skater can match.

And so now he's returning, and I'm grappling with The Thing That's Eating My Brain, which is essentially a two-headed... thing. (Not that it's about me. At all. Because it isn't. So please feel free to skip on ahead to voting for Johnny and world peace!).

Of course I support him 100%. Whatever he wants to do, I'm there to cheer him on. Always. Completely. Unequivocally. Without reservation.


I'm a stranger in a strange land here.

I don't really fit in with, like, hardcore competitive figure-skating fans. I'm still the kid outside the candy store with nose pressed against the glass, watching others spend hours happily digesting caramel-coated scoresheets and savoring the latest coach-and-skater pairings and breakups and chewing up the CoP like so much highly sugared gum in forums across the Internet, pointing out why this deduction here was fair and why there should have been a jump combination there rather than 20 seconds earlier and why attempting the (ridiculously over-valued) quad is what separates the winners from the losers (even if the winners fall on their asses most of the time. Which is a thing that makes no sense to those of us gathered outside the window, smoking a cigarette and watching Johnny's "Sexy and I Know It" performance on our cell phones--and then having another cigarette...).

Of course there's room for the entire spectrum of fans, ranging from the casual Oh-Yes-I-Watch-Figure-Skating-Every-Four-Years-At-The-Olympics-Who-Was-That-Guy-In-The-Pink-Tasseled-Corset-Thing-Didn't-He-Win-The-Gold crowd to the highly informed Well-Even-If-They-Incorporate-The-Same-Elements-In-Their-Programs-The-GOE-Is-What-Can-Really-Make-The-Difference-Let's-Look-At-Those-Deductions-Again groups. As with every subject about which people are passionate, it's the diversity that keeps it interesting. And while this won't ever be one of those extremely technical figure-skating blogs parsing every event down to the last 1/100th of a point, the blogs that can do that deserve much respect for the knowledge, background, and context they bring to the discussion.

Back inside the FS candy shop window, the new ads promoting the delicious sparkly truffle of Johnny's return have been greeted by some with sage head-shaking and more-than-slightly sneering pronouncements of, "I'll believe it when I see it."

All righty then. You do that.

I personally have no doubt whatsoever that he can do it. His ability to focus with laser-like intensity is legendary among people who actually know him--such as his off-ice trainer, Fatima Bruhns, who described his self-discipline as "scary" during the press conference.

He's made up his mind. So he'll give it his all. I don't think he knows how to do things any other way.

If he needs the quad, he'll nail it. If he needs to revamp his choreography to beef up the points so he can make the insanely stupid CoP work for him rather than against him, he'll do it. If he wants to find a way to do that without sacrificing the artistry that is his hallmark, he'll do it.

Whatever it takes to be a deadly serious competitor, he'll do it.

Because he's deadly serious about it.

So that brings me to the second part of my two-headed zombie brain-eater: The officialdom of figure skating.

Which has yet to satisfactorily explain to me The Chanonization of Patrick, Patron Saint of Hey I Can Quad All Day Long If You Want Me To Dammit Who Put That Wall There. Among other things.

An officialdom that hasn't changed much, as far as I know, in the last two years.

The question, to me, isn't at all: Can Johnny do it?

The question is:

Will they let him?

I'm keeping an open mind and an open heart about this. No grudge-holding. No bitterness. Slate wiped clean. I'm fascinated to see what officialdom will do with the first not-only-openly-gay-but-married-to-another-man competitive skater. He's the biggest draw in US figure skating, and second only to Yuna Kim in global reach. What an incredible opportunity to advance their sport to the forefront of progressiveness.

And to perhaps restore some of its lost integrity.

(Note to whoever's in charge: The more ludicrously over-complicated the points system becomes, the more vulnerable it is to questions of manipulation to create a desired result. Don't think we haven't noticed.)

So will they allow him to be a serious competitor? Maybe even support him?

I really, really want to think so. For Johnny's sake, and for the sake of the sport he loves so much.

I'll happily believe it when I see it.

And I'm really looking forward to the delicious chocolate-y goodness of them making a believer out of me. :)

Johnny Weir. Photo © David Ingogly @ Official Johnny Weir Blog.
You better believe it.
Photo © David Ingogly.
Please click photo twice for full-size view.
Or click here, then click again
for super-size version.

Here's something we can all believe: He's doing really well in the Improv-Ice voting

In fact, he's so thrilled with our voting effort that he tweeted:

So please KEEP VOTING!! #Weir2012WorldPeace 

(Side note: I kinda wish that instead of this interminable series of never-ending GOP debates, the GOP candidates had to do their own Improv-Ice thing to select their candidate. Although now I just had a flash of Newt Gingrich gyrating on skates to "Sexy and I Know It," and now I need brain bleach. Oh, and Rick Santorum? "Fooling Yourself." Definitely. Cuz he sure isn't fooling anyone else.)

And there's more fun stuff happening! Prior to disappearing into a hole for the next six or seven months (gaaaaaaaaaaaah please could we at least have Be Good Johnny Weir season 2 during that time to go with the backlog of HDOI picspam...?), Johnny's commentating on Nationals this weekend from Ice Network's "ICE Desk." Per their article:

ICE Desk Live is free to all registered users [editorial note: Yay!!].

Viewing times as follows (all times Eastern):

Friday, Jan. 27: 10:15 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. prior to men's short program

Friday, Jan. 27: 12:40 a.m. - 12:50 a.m. post men's short program

Saturday, Jan. 28: 11:30 p.m. - 11:45 p.m. post ladies free skate

Sunday, Jan. 29: 6:30 p.m. - 6:45 p.m. post men's free skate

Johnny also "will offer color commentary during the men's event at 2012 U.S. Championships." (But I THINK to watch this, you have to subscribe to Ice Network's $39.95 video package.)

Bonus video!! This lovely fan has made a video 
using Davey's "Rumour Has It" photos 
from this blog entry and this one
See all of her Johnny fan vids here.

Why yes he is!! 
Read his comeback statement 
on his website!

New!! Johnny is an Honorary Chairperson 
for the Imperial Court of New York's biggest annual fundraiser, 
This year's beneficiaries are PFLAG-NYC and 
New Alternatives, a group that helps homeless LGBT youth. 
Mark your calendars for Saturday, March 31, 

Nominate Johnny Weir for a social media award in the Shorty Awards!

Hey, Johnny's been nominated for a Shorty Award!! You can join in on the nominating process by clicking here and tweeting your vote for Johnny. Most fans are voting for him in the "Athlete" category. 

Note: The Shorty Awards have very specific rules, which essentially boil down to this:

(1) You can only nominate him ONCE from each Twitter account that you have. Additional votes from the same account will NOT be counted. So it's one of those deals where we need a LOT of different people to vote, rather than a few people voting a lot.

(2) Your nominating tweet MUST include a reason (for example: "I nominate @JohnnyGWeir for a Shorty Award in #athlete because he inspires his fans to believe in themselves"--thanks @PatinaGlace!).

(3) You must NOT copy someone else's reason in your vote. 

All righty then.

The nominating period ends February 17--please vote vote vote!! For more info, click here.

Q and A! Go read it now!

Johnny's Glitter and Ice collection 
with MAC is selling out fast! 
Don't miss your chance to sparkle--
visit a MAC retailer or order online ASAP! 

Yes! Johnny's dresses are now available
for purchase only on!

At last: Pop Star On Ice is now available on DVD!
Order yours today from the Pop Star On Ice website!

Johnny tweeted:
"Buy my single,'Dirty Love' via iTunes.
Tell all your friends to as well. The more copies sold
takes me one step closer to making a video! №1!"

You know what to do.
Please buy the song from Johnny's website,
or just click the "Buy" button on the player
at the top of the blog!

Hey, Welcome to My World also is available
as an eBook! More info on Johnny's website!

copyright 2012 / Binky and the Misfit Mimes / Lynn V. Ingogly / all rights reserved


Princess Johnny-Love ♥ said...

*bump* move over, BB, cause i'm gonna be joining you outside the candy shop.

hmm . . . lovely and insightful post. i've been thinking about some of those things too.

i just wrote a few things, but you know what? i erased them cause i'm gonna take the high road and be polite. *puts hand over mouth*


But can i just say - if your skate has a "+ Wall" in it, then there needs to be a "+ NO WINNING!!" in it, too!

Grrrrrr . . .

looking forward to supporting Johnny in whatever he needs supporting in. sending care packages to a hard working skater, traveling to a skate competition and wandering around - hopefully with Binky - wondering WTF is going on? and well, whatever else i can do.

and yes, for the love of everything sparkly, please ration the picspam so we have something to FLAIL over!

Jen said...

Hee :D Lovely pics. As you can no doubt tell from watching my blathering on twitter the last few days, I am a skating fan. Have been since I was very small. I still don't understand the CoP, but I love watching no matter what.

I'm... I'm willing to put tentative trust in everyone in regards to his comeback. Like you said, slate wiped clean. Johnny is happy right now to be coming back, and everyone appears to be happy to have him back. Right now, that's enough. Johnny gets to come back with support and skate, and skating gets more viewers. It's win/win.

(Also, btw, I'm happy to answer any questions you have about skating comps and ... things and such. Yep ♥ )

Maggie St. said...

You move over too Robin! I wanna look at the candy too.

I'm the one who once asked "didn't they used to skate circles & figure 8's in figure skating?" which is the extent of my 'knowledge'.

After watching Johnny skate for the past 2 years, I still don't know any of the particulars of the sport.

But I do know when it touches my heart and soul. That's why Johnny will always have my vote.

aaaack said...

Also don't know much about skating history or skating biology or skating geometry and have never taken French ( ), but I do know Johnny is a true artist. And he is fascinating to watch and listen to because he is so much in touch with himself and has so much insight to share.

Now that Johnny is married to his soul-mate, Johnny will have a settled feeling and that will steady his nerves.

Whatever happens with the scoring, he'll still deliver a beautiful series of skates, sprinkle magical youtubes, and pick up another 100,000 or so fans. I'm just surprised that he hasn't hit a million fans yet.

Nancy Knisley said...

I am also primarily a Johnny Weir fan rather than a figure skating fan. Sometimes I think that I'd be more of a figure skating fan if more skaters skated like Johnny. Maybe.

But it's not just Johnny's skating that I find so compelling, it's the whole package that Johnny presents on the ice--including who he is off the ice. If Johnny wasn't so fiercely determined to live his life his way, and if he didn't say so many things that touch, inspire, and amuse me, I still might want to watch him skate, but I would not be the huge Johnny Weir fan I am now.

I think you'd need to clone Johnny Weir to get me to be an obsessed fan of men's figure skating in general.

-K said...

I loved Johnny's skating the moment I first saw it, knowing nothing about skating, only knowing that the performance I was watching was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. Now that I've learned more about the sport... Nothing has changed. It only reinforces what I knew from the beginning: Johnny is the most extraordinary skater to ever take to the ice. He transforms the technical elements of skating into art, which takes incredible skill. Nobody else can skate as beautifully as he does, nobody else can touch your soul the way he does. Regardless of what the judges do, they can never take that away from him. I can't wait to see him compete again :))))))

Shannon said...

As someone who has been a figure skating fan for most of my life (I fall somewhere between "oh it's the olympics, maybe I'll catch some figure skating" and "let me explain to you in laborious detail the myths about the new scoring system I have swallowed hook, line and sinker and why it means PChan really deserves those scores"), I have so many feelings about Johnny coming back. As a Johnny fan I'm delighted at the idea of seeing him skate. On the other hand, this isn't a fair sport. Never has been. I've known this since I was about 8 years old and heard a commentator talk about how the person who'd just skated flawlessly got lower scores because they had to leave room at the top for the favorites. Not long after the 06 Olympics I drifted away from it almost completely because of that. I was disgusted, and other than Johnny, no one in the sport compelled me to care anymore. I kept half an eye on him, from a distance, until Vancouver sucked me right back in again. :)

So I am ambivalent. There are so many things I worry about. :) I worry about the opportunities he will pass up, I worry about the strain that the stress and rigor of training for competitions could potentially put on a what is, let's face it, a very new marriage, and most of all I worry about him starving himself down to a rattling bag of bones like he was in Vancouver. And I worry that it will all be for a sport that does not appreciate what they have in him, because he will not perform from the approved script.

BUT, there are, maybe, a few things that makes me feel a little more optimistic. His tweet the day before the announcement said something about life being funny and things changing so fast. He also mentioned a hope of getting a GP assignment, and specifically said the USFSA know and support his decision. These things give me hope that he has reason to believe he will in fact have real support. Whatever he might say, I find it too incredible to believe he would try to come back if he didn't have reason to believe that he has real chances of winning and getting on to the Olympic team.

So, in short, I'll trust that Johnny knows what he is doing, that he will draw strength from his newfound happiness with Victor, and he's ready for this challenge. I'll stock up on antacids and tissues, and get ready to once again be emotionally invested in a sport that I decided years ago isn't worth the emotional energy I put into these kinds of things. The things I do for Johnny. :)

WheresMyKoppy said...

The question, to me, isn't at all: Can Johnny do it?

The question is:

Will they let him?

Boy, you said it MM!

I've been a figure skating fan for a very long time, longer than I even care to admit. I don't understand he new scoring system, and I doubt I ever will. Oh I do understand it in a way, I just don't understand why the ISU thinks this is the way to go. So insanely ridiculous, to be honest!

Anyway, I'll support him no matter what he does. And we can only hope he helps bring skating back around to something close to what it once was...

Debora Walsh said...

Great comments today.
I honestly thought that this announcement would never come. I had stated on numerous occasions that I thought he was hanging up the competition skates; not because he wasn't capable, but because he just seemed so 'done with it'. Actually, let me restate that...competition seemed to be so done with HIM. The sport seems to have abandoned the artistry and musicality that was always the core of what figure skating fans and judges wanted to see. Frankly, watching skating without Johnny would be completely unbearable for me if not for Yuzuru & Daisuke (and they are merely substitutes). The choppy, ungainly splatfests that now constitute winning programs bore the bejesus outta me. Maybe that's why adding a wall-crash now and then wins these days--it's the only thing that the keeps folks in the stands from snoring altogether...

UNTIL NOW....that is.

Will they let him? That is the question....Maybe the US Federation has seen the forest through the trees somewhat and realized, albeit late, that Johnny is the biggest asset they've got. They have to be feeling the sting of only two world spots and no prospects of that changing anytime soon. Like him or not, Johnny carries a level of international prestige that is unmatched in the talent roster. These facts combined with his undeniably stellar talent and impressive competitive record will--I HOPE-- elicit the support he will need from his federation. Johnny is stepping onto the ice in uncharted territory as an athlete. From what I've read, the fans and the media are all enthusiastic and behind him. I imagine they will be paying attention to EVERY score he draws.

I am so anxious to see what he has in store for us and the world. He is smart, savvy and knows what he's doing. I do not doubt his abilities nor do I doubt his determination; and I relish the thought of cheering him on again. GO JOHNNY GO!

Thank you for the blog Binky! Here's to a cabal reunion in Omaha 2013.

Atomic Wife said...

I'm a little scared.... I am not a sports fan and chide those who are. When I say those, I mean those who get so devastated if their team loses or exhilarated when their team wins. I've always loved figure skating but never cared too much who won. Except for Sasha Cohen, I've never zeroed in on a specific skater but even with her, I wasn't emotionally invested like I am with the fabulous Johnny. Johnny came to my attention just before the 2010 Olys, so I've never followed him while he is competing. I am worried and excited to follow him on this path. I will now be one of those sports fans screaming for him to win and crying for him if he falls. I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE HIS PROGRAMS.

I support anything Johnny does (except for the fur thing) and trust he - and Victor - know what they are getting into. I knew he'd go for Sochi; it's his dream to skate in Russia Olys. How effin' exciting is that?!!

I am just so relieved I have DVR, MM's blog and LittleHoarse to make sure I don't miss a thing.

Atomic Wife said...

P.S. Thankful for Jenn Kittler's videos too!!

BrightonDogwood said...

Just to state my fan-credentials, I’ve also been a very ‘casual’ fan of figure skating going back years ago but when the kids came along I pretty much stopped watching. Never watched any competition events with Johnny in it, INCLUDING Olympics, and I never before dared to hope that he might come back and I could actually see it in real time or even LIVE, so this is SO incredibly thrilling that he’s decided to come back.
I have no doubt at all that he will come back strong and has every chance to dazzle us with his incomparably beautiful performances. But I got a funny feeling about his plans looking at some of Davey’s pics from HDOI (the black and white rehearsal ones, I think) BEFORE he announced, that he has chosen his course, that he will come back and compete, and that he knows very well he may not be rewarded for it as he deserves to be but he is at PEACE with that. I think he is doing this with the HOPE that things will go well but that if his performances are downgraded in any obvious way it might result in a shake-up in the establishment due to public pressure and that it just might change things for future skaters who might otherwise suffer for not being their ‘favorite’, for whatever reason. I think he is willing to be that catalyst for the sake of the sport he loves so much, and the up and coming figure skaters who admire him so much.
I think the last two years have shown him that his fans will not give up on him and knowing he has our attention and support there is a chance he can make a difference. So, while I don’t see him as any kind of a ‘sure-thing’ for winning medals or even making it to the Olympics I do think that one way or the other he is going to ‘succeed’ and we will be proud of him.