Figure Skating

The Associated Press - Wednesday Oct. 23, 2013 11:54 ET

Johnny Weir, 3-time US figure skating champ, retires

'Outlandish and flamboyant' star will cover Sochi Games for NBC

Three-time U.S. figure skating champion Johnny Weir announced his retirement from skating on Wednesday. (File/Getty Images)

Known as much for his outrageous costumes and comments as his intriguing skating, Johnny Weir is leaving the ice for the broadcast booth.

He hopes to be just as offbeat and entertaining in his newcareer.

The three-time U.S. figure skating champion retired from competition Wednesday — he still plans to skate in shows — and will join NBC for its coverage of the Sochi Games.

"I am outlandish and flamboyant and all those things," Weir said. "There was a focus on all that in my career, which I am fine with, but there also was a little attention paid to how hard I actually worked and how much went into it and how I came back so many times. Sweating every day for that one moment, and I wish people focused on that as much as my characters and my costumes. 

"Hopefully, I can use my words properly and talk intelligently. I'm excited for the journey."

Weir spent 16 years in the sport, and went to two Olympics. He won the U.S. title from 2004 to 2006, and finished fifth at the gamesmen and sixth in 2010.   He will begin his broadcasting career Sunday during the network's coverage of Skate Canada.

The Sochi Games begin Feb. 6.  Weir said he was inspired to become a figure skater by watching the great Russians perform on the world and Olympic stage. He was coached to much of his competitive success by Soviet-trained Galina Zmievskaya. He is married to a Russian, Victor Voronov. 

So taking part in a Russian Olympics was his goal before hanging up his skates competitively. But when Weir realized he was not fit enough to attempt another comeback, he turned to other avenues to stay close to figure skating. 

NBC readily obliged, knowing it would get, well, everything Weiris known for.

"I definitely do not regret it," Weir said. "The goal was I would compete in Sochi and come full circle. It would have been very storybook.

"I have always cheered for all Russian skaters and I will cheer for all Russians when I am there in Sochi. I'm sad I can't compete, but I can be there and be a part of the moments that will get created at this beautiful Olympics. That takes the edge off not competing, definitely."

Weir has been outspoken about the treatment of gays in Russia,which he recently depicted as "heartbreaking." 

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