Everything You Need to Know About Sassy Olympic Skating Announcer Johnny Weir

If you’ve been watching the Olympics, you probably heard a sassy and stereotypically-gay voice call someone’s program "a disaster." You might’ve also seen the owner of said voice wearing a red sequin blazer, with perfectly coiffed black hair. That man, challenging everything we thought we knew about sports announcers, is Johnny Weir – two-time Olympian, three-time national champion, world bronze medalist, and unapologetic gay icon. Johnny teamed up with former Olympic champion Tara Lipinski to form their hilariously entertaining Olympic commentary duo.

Johnny making fashion history at the 2018 Golden Globes with a classy and beautiful Tara Lipinski at his side. 

I want to tell you why Johnny is such an important figure (no skating pun intended). He started skating at age 12, which is abnormally late for a world-class athlete, especially after horseback riding for years. He landed his first Axel within a week of lessons, a feat that takes most skaters years to achieve. The most widely known facet of Johnny’s performances is his flamboyance – his costumes and choreography were always over the top and particularly effeminate. While one might think figure skating is a sport where femininity is accepted for men, Johnny was the object of ridicule and misjudging through his entire skating career. High-level judges are no stranger to favoritism and bias. Johnny was consistently given scores lower than what he had earned because of the judges’ discomfort with his expression and sexuality. This never stopped him. Johnny braved discrimination in the pursuit of being himself, unapologetically. In perhaps his most well-known performance, he skated to Lady Gaga’s "Poker Face",in a shiny body suit and face paint. A proud Little Monster, he also skated to "Bad Romance", "Just Dance" and "Born This Way".

His spot as a commentator is the least US Figure Skating could do to repair the homophobic damage they’ve done. Johnny inspired me as a young figure skater who was unafraid to express herself through fashion, and inspires me today as a gay woman living in a cold world. To quantify the people Johnny has inspired and the lives he has touched would be next to impossible.

Johnny at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver

Johnny has used his personality and style to build a career for himself, within and outside of figure skating. He was the subject of a documentary titled Pop Star on Ice and a reality show titled “Be Good Johnny Weir.” He’s also a designer – his most notable creation being the outfit Yuzuru Hanyu won Olympic gold in in 2014. He wrote an autobiography, “Welcome to My World” in 2011, where he talks about his personal life as well as his path to Olympic skating success. Oh, he also has his own pop song called “Dirty Love”, and it slaps. Johnny’s Wikipedia page includes a full, detailed list of his accomplishments, including his numerous contributions to the Trevor Project and other LGBT charities. If you’re interested in seeing videos of his skating, pictures of his dog, and updates on his glamorous life, follow Johnny on Instagram.

Johnny may be a fashion icon and a hilariously brutal figure skating announcer, but he is so much more than that to figure skating, the LGBT community, and beyond.

Image sources: Cover, 1, 2