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Johnny Weir and Press face off on inevitable gay question

Ross von Metzke | February 20, 2006

Johnny Weir
TURIN, Italy — The questions have been a long time coming but, fresh off a lousy skate that ruined his chances at an Olympic medal, reporters pressed 21-year-old figure skater Johnny Weir with questions about his sexuality, including references to a Chicago Tribune poll that discussed his sexual orientation.

�I think it's funny that people care,� Weir said before ultimately placing fourth. �I don't have a problem with people saying anything. People could be saying, �Oh, let's poll about Bode Miller. Let's poll about Michelle Kwan being a lesbian. It's not a big deal. Who I sleep with doesn't affect what I'm doing on the ice or what I'm doing in a press conference.�

Earlier in the week, the Tribune interviewed Rudi Galindo, a former U.S. champion and one of the only openly gay figure skaters in the business. Galindo complained that the media was not confronting Weir about the question of whether he is gay.

�He's drinking tea with his pinkie finger in the air, and he's so over the top and feminine, why is everybody asking him about his style and not just ask him if he's gay?� Galindo told the Tribune. �It's the funniest thing to watch.�

Weir has never publicly discussed rumors that he is gay, though according to the Tribune, at nationals he said he had been through a tumultuous personal relationship recently that had had a negative impact on his skating. When asked to further discuss that issue again at the Olympics, he declined.

In past news conferences, Weir has described himself as a �diva� and called himself �princess-y,� making sure to point out that he is not a jock but an athlete dressed in rhinestones and sequins.

Then, when asked about the subject on his personal Web site, Weir replied: �People talk. Figure skating is thought of as a female sport, something that only girly men compete in. I don't feel the need to express my sexual being because it's not part of my sport and it's private. I can sleep with whomever I choose.�

According to the Tribune�s poll, the public agrees. Of the more than 4,000 people who responded to Thursday night�s poll question, �Do you care if Weir is gay?�, 92.5 percent had said no. – Gay Link Content

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