by Alexandra Stevenson
(8 September 2012) The flamboyant very popular Johnny Weir, now 28, swept through the East rink at the twin ice surface facility on a Chelsea Pier on the West side of Manhattan on Saturday afternoon, September 8, surprising the audience who were watching the pairs competition, instantly igniting a buzz of speculation.
Accompanied by his entourage, which included coaches Galina Zmievskaya and her pupil 1992 Olympic champion Victor Petrenko, along with Weir's marital partner, Victor Voronov, the 2004, 2005 & 2006 U.S. champion walked the length of the rink showing off a huge bag which displayed the name Sochi, which will be the site of the ice events in the next Olympics Games.
The Games are scheduled to be held in this southern Russian city in February 2014, and Weir wants to be there, believing he can better his fifth and sixth places in the 2006 and 2010 Olympics.
Weir has been practicing in New Jersey at the Hackensack facility alongside Czech competitor Michal Brezina, who told this reporter recently that Weir was working very intensely and going through his full routine every day.
At the Chelsea Pier Weir was apparently being "monitored" by top US judges, and they wanted this done in complete privacy. After the Pairs event, during a pause in the competition, the audience was asked to briefly leave the rink. No one but the Junior and Senior Men's competitors and their families was allowed to remain. A special covering was put up to prevent anyone peeking in through the glass door onto the ice.
When this had been put in place, Weir practiced along with the Junior men and the lone Senior man. He then skated his long routine immediately prior to the start of the Junior Men's Free Skating competition. Although Weir showed he has lost none of his interpretive flamboyance, and his flow over the ice is as beautiful as ever, he reduced the difficult of some of his intended jumps and briefly stopped performing the routine when a spin went wrong.
It is believed the judges were deciding whether he is ready to compete in the Finlandia Trophy, 5-7 October.