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Johnny Weir: More Man Than Mailhot and Goldberg

Out of ugly, I think the most important thing to do in life is to make something beautiful.--Johnny Weir

Unless you've been living under a stone, you've probably heard about the incredibly asinine, offensive and just plain stupid remarks made in French by Canadian

Broadcasting sportscasters Claude Mailhot and Alain Goldberg regarding Johhny Weir's performance at the Men's Figure Skating event at the Vancouver Olympics. Weir is 23, and a three-time U.S. champion, known for his creativity and choreography as wells as his skating. Weir wore a semi-sheer, pink-and-black costume he designed himself. You can see his "short program" for this year's Olympics here.

I've linked to video of the sportscasters' conversation; it's in French, but aside from the offensive slang, it's pretty basic high school level French:


The comments from Claude Mailhot and Alain Goldberg are less decorous than they sound in English. In abbreviated form, Mailhot observes that "This may not be politically correct, .  . But do you think he lost points due to his costume and his body language?" Goldberg responds that Weir's feminine style may reflect badly on other male figure skaters. "They'll think all the boys who skate will end up like him," he said. "It sets a bad example." They continued in this vein. Earlier in their coverage they even suggested "gender [sic] testing," in an incredibly stupid reference to South African runner Caster Semenya.

Wier's response is linked below (the pull-quote up top is from him).

The most intelligent, thoughtful commentary I've seen is from NPR's Trey Graham:

He's not just that overused adjective, "flamboyant." He's not merely some attention-seeking oddball with a flair for outre fashion. He's more dangerous than that: He's Oscar Wilde. And Quentin Crisp, and Harvey Fierstein and David Bowie and Adam Lambert. He's Lady Gaga, and I'm sure he'll understand that I mean that as a compliment.

Weir has faced impertinent questions for most of his adult life; in a Washington Post interview he responded with one of the most adult takes on sexuality I've seen in the press:

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 and it doesn't affect what I'm doing on the ice, so speculation is speculation. . . . I am who I am, and I don't need to justify anything to anyone.