Published February 15, 2010
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Three-time U.S. champion Johnny Weir is considering bringing back a quadruple jump in his free skate for the Vancouver Olympics.
Weir rarely has used the four-revolution jump, although he did a quad toe loop in the 2008 season, when he won a bronze medal at the world championships. That was the last time Weir was a factor in a major international competition.
He said after last month's U.S. championships that he wouldn't be doing one in Vancouver. But his coach, Galina Zmievskaya, has urged Weir to begin practicing the quad, and he says he is proud of "the clean one" he did during Monday's run-through. That quad had a funky landing, though, and when he tried three more, he popped one into a double and the others had only three revolutions.
Still, it could be in his repertoire for Thursday's free skate; the men begin Tuesday with the short program.
"What do I have to lose?" asked Weir, who won his third consecutive American title in 2006, then finished fifth at the Turin Games after being second in the short program. "I'm not a favorite for a medal here. If I feel like doing it, I will do it."
Weir's strength always has been his presentation, which can range from lyrical to avant garde to outrageous. No American skater has matched persona with performance the way Weir does.
The jumps? Well, they are there because they have to be. They've never defined Weir, and they never will.
So his toying with the quad is newsworthy, and he recognizes that.
"I want to skate the way I can skate and not worry about missing a step or a jump or doing something stupid like a double loop," Weir said. "I want to go into autopilot out there and do everything I have been trained to do.
"This was my first practice after I had a day off (Sunday), and so Galina said, 'Let's jump a little bit.' I did every triple jump at the end (like) what we always do at home. Then Galina said, 'OK, try the quad,' and boom, I did a clean quad."
Most of the top competitors in Vancouver will do quads in their free skates, although fellow American Evan Lysacek, the current world champion, has eliminated it because it causes too much stress on his left foot. U.S. champ Jeremy Abbott will attempt a quad, as will defending Olympic gold medalist Evgeni Plushenko and Turin silver medalist Stephane Lambiel. The quad long has been a staple of 2007 world champion Brian Joubert's programs.
That's fine by Weir, who is more likely to devote extensive brainpower to the sleeves of his costume than to thinking about the quad.
"I want to win over people's hearts and minds," he said. "I want people to be transported away when I am skating."