Johnny Weir, my favorite ice skater as much for his who-gives-a-damn personality as his skating talent, will not be going to the world figure skating championships after finishing fifth at this weekend's nationals. Weir has been at worlds every year since 2003.
Weir blamed the flu he been fighting for a month for his lackluster performance and had an answer for the ages when told that Michael Jordan played well in the NBA Finals one year despite being equally sick.
"It may sound like an excuse, but you have to remember that Michael Jordan had a whole team around him," Weir said. "I'm a single, skinny, sparkly boy standing by myself."
Weir was still hoping the U.S. Skating Federation would pick him as one of the three U.S. skaters at the worlds in Los Angeles in March based on past performance. The committee, though, chose the top three finishers from the nationals: national champ Jeremy Abbott, second place Brandon Mroz and defending national champion Evan Lysacek. Weir argued that his illness should have been a mitigating factor. ("I lost eight pounds in one day," said Weir. "Normal people would've missed two weeks of work.")
Sorry, Johnny, but that's a tough argument to swallow. Especially since he has argued against skaters who begged to be placed on teams for similar reasons.
"It's hard for me to respect when people do that," he said of petitioning for a place on the world team. "I think you should fight for your place on the team. But at the same time, and not to sound like I'm double-dipping, but I hope the committee that selects the world team can look back and see what I did last season and what I've done this season. I've already pushed through sickness during events and skating problems."
Weir needs to suck it up, continue to work hard at practice and take his next shot in trying to qualify for next year's Olympics. And remember to rest and drink plenty of fluids.