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Old 02-17-2006, 12:47 PM   #1
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OMG! is Johnny Weir gay!?!?!?!

or, why would we care? it doesn't make a difference, does it? how come we all know it but he still can't say it? how could it make a difference in figure skating? or, why does it make a difference even in figure skating?

[q]He's here, he's Weir
By Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports | February 16, 2006

TURIN, Italy – Ah, let's see, how should I phrase this one without getting into trouble?

OK … so, if there was, per chance, the need for a closet to be involved in Johnny Weir's personal life (hypothetically speaking, of course, although, judging by 99 percent of the American public's perception of him there would not be said need) don't you think it is rather remarkable that he has never come out of it?

If, of course, there even is a closet. Oh, and, for the record, not that there is anything wrong with that. Or anything else. But, well, ah, let's just say …

"If Johnny Weir isn't gay, then I'm not gay," said Jim Buzinski, founder of outsports.com, a gay sports web site, on Thursday.

Thank you, Jim, for bailing me out here. (For the record, Jim is gay.)

Johnny Weir has rocketed to become the most popular and talked-about male figure skater in years. And it is not just because of his skating – which, unfortunately, he didn't display in a poor performance here Thursday where he finished fifth.

He's a national phenomenon because of his flamboyant ways, even if he isn't officially gay. Few people seem to care what he really is; they just like the showmanship that makes Elton John look straight.

It's the dandy outfits. It's the rhinestones. It's the Louis Vuitton bags. It is the prancing ways. It's the fact he describes himself as "princessy," says things such as "I felt like the prettiest flower at the pond" and wears a single red glove.

"I call my glove 'Camille,' " he said at the national championships. "Two Ls."

Know any straight men who would say that? How about admitting Christina Aguilera is their idol? I am less convinced Wilt Chamberlain was straight than I am that Johnny Weir is not.

"NBC's segment was titled, 'He's Here, He's Weir," noted Buzinski, a pun off the "we're here, we're queer" gay rights slogan. "Wonder what they were trying to say?"

Buzinski notes that you'd have to have the worst "gaydar" on earth not to sniff this one out. The beauty of it all is that the lack of subtlety is why he so popular.

"He's hysterical," said Buzinski, whose website has been overrun with Weir talk. "He's so out there. Gay people love the guy the way they always love divas."

Straight people do too. I (since we are discussing it) am heterosexual, but feel quite comfortable saying I love the guy. He's colorful, fun, entertaining. We need more characters like him in sports.

"Tony Kornheiser, who is the least gay human being on the planet, loves the guy for who he is," said Buzinski.

But, why, then is Johnny Weir not officially gay? He's declined to answer the question, even on his personal website.

"I don't feel the need to express my sexual being because it's not part of my sport and it's private," Weir writes. "I can sleep with whomever I choose and it doesn't affect what I'm doing on the ice, so speculation is speculation.

"I like nice things, and beautiful things, so if that is the only way people are determining that I swing one way or the other, then to me, that's sad. You can't judge a book by its cover, ever. I am who I am, and I don't need to justify anything to anyone."

This would be a reasonable explanation, except on every other subject Weir is like a 13-year-old girl at a slumber party – no secrets. He talks about everything. He says anything. He seems to relish it.

"He can't [come out] because he will deal with repercussions from judges," claims Jon Jackson, a former skater and Olympic-qualified judge, who is the author of the book "On Edge: Backroom Dealing, Cocktail Scheming, Triple Axels and How Top Skaters Get Screwed."

"I've seen it," Jackson said Thursday, "And it goes beyond (prejudice) from straight judges. (It includes) gay male judges who have their own sexual identity threatened if a gay skater does something feminine."

Jackson, who again for the record, is also gay, says the figure skating establishment in the U.S. encourages skaters to stay in the closet by making it known they want their athletes to be straight because it believes that is what the public wants.

He estimates that 30 to 40 percent of elite male American skaters are gay. But in what Buzinski calls "the gayest sport," there hasn't been an openly gay American skater since Rudy Galindo came out in 1996.

"It is U.S. Figure Skating's mindset that it is not good for skating," said Jackson. "It is what Tonya Harding dealt with. If you are not a perfect lady, it hurts figure skating's image. If you are not perfectly manly, it hurts figure skating's image. But if there was ever a sport [where] it wouldn't matter, it is this one."

U.S. Figure Skating denies those accusations.

"We are not commenting on the book because it so baseless," said Lindsay DeWall, spokesperson for the organization. "I don't think [sexual orientation] is any of our business. A skater is free to be whoever they want to be publicly and privately."

This brings us back to Weir, who despite missing out on a medal, will return to the States as one of the Olympics' most popular and publicized athletes. He is a hero to the gay community – "We love him," said Buzinski. He is popular in much of the straight one, too.

He seems like a natural for Leno, Letterman and who knows what else. He may not get mainstream endorsement deals, but he isn't likely to fade away. Besides, he is only 21 and promises to be back for the next Olympics.

By then, perhaps, we will have gotten to the point where closets, if there are any, no longer matter. Although, judging by the Weir phenomenon, I think mainstream America is closer than ever.

Either way, here's hoping Johnny Weir, whatever he is, hasn't changed one single bit.

http://sports.yahoo.com/olympics/tor...yhoo&type=lgns

[/q]



could it be that, no matter how much we pat ourselves on the back -- as this heterosexual writer who's so proud of himself for being comfortable liking Weir does, in a way that's so reminiscent of the old "some of my best freinds are black" -- for "not caring" about things like race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation, we still can't get away from these things? we will never be blind to them? so, instead of pretending they don't matter, let's accept that they *do* matter, and that what we must to is learn to live with and embrace difference rather than pretend not to see difference?

(and too bad he screwed up, big time, last night, but what can you do?)

(and i'll even step aside the flagrant stereotypes of what are traditional signs and symbols of "gayness" ... in this article, said signs would be akin to knowing someone was, say, British because his upper lip was really stiff when he spoke)
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Old 02-17-2006, 01:03 PM   #2
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Re: OMG! is Johnny Weir gay!?!?!?!

Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511

could it be that, no matter how much we pat ourselves on the back -- as this heterosexual writer who's so proud of himself for being comfortable liking Weir does, in a way that's so reminiscent of the old "some of my best freinds are black" -- for "not caring" about things like race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation, we still can't get away from these things? we will never be blind to them? so, instead of pretending they don't matter, let's accept that they *do* matter, and that what we must to is learn to live with and embrace difference rather than pretend not to see difference?
I agree. I go to a Christian school with a lot of conservatives (the bad kind) and I know this guy who is gay. He's actually REALLY good friends with my housemates. Last week a few of us were calendar shopping at the book store b/c the calendars were only $1. My friend found this Chippendale's calendar and decided to buy it for Bob. She asked us if we thought Bob would think it was funny, or be offended. We decided that honestly, Bob is the type of person who would really appreciate the fact that we know he's gay, we know he's different, but we love him anyway and aren't afraid to bring the issue into the open. We gave him the calendar and he thought it was brilliant.

What really bugs me about some people is that they'll always say they don't care if people are gay and could have gay friends, but yet when they're around gay people, they stay all hush-hush and obviously feel very awkward, like if they mention something that implies "gayness" (or even talk about their own hetero relationships) it will be offensive to the gay person.

I'm not exactly sure if this is what you were getting at, but I think so....
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Old 02-17-2006, 01:57 PM   #3
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I really don't care that Weir is most likely gay. It's his skating that counts. I wish he'd done better last night, but he just gave away too many points.
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Old 02-17-2006, 02:41 PM   #4
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The people who "run" figure skating are a strange bunch- there is an interesting book that came out years ago, long before Tonya and Nancy called Edge Of Glory by Christine Brennan. As I recall it delved into this subject a little bit.

They can't deal with Johnny because he is the way he is. What is the big deal? And why do writers have to make his sexual orientation a big deal? It all comes back to stereotypes, and many people think a guy can't be artistic, balletic, stylish, whatever you want to say without being gay. There are straight and gay male figure skaters. I love watching the sport, the rest is just a sideshow so to speak.

It's just Johnny being Johnny, just like it's Manny being Manny.

I am who I am, and I don't need to justify anything to anyone I admire that.
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Old 02-17-2006, 02:54 PM   #5
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I can't believe the Chicago paper actually had that poll Interesting what Rudy Galindo had to say..

Under all of his veneer I bet Johnny's sensitive to some of it and it does hurt him somewhat.

BY FILIP BONDY
NY DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER


TURIN - Maybe it was inevitable, but the moment still felt badly misplaced. Johnny Weir, fresh off a lousy skate that ruined his chances at the Olympics, was forced last night in the crowded media mixed zone to respond to Chicago Tribune articles and that newspaper's own poll yesterday that discussed his sexual orientation.

"I think it's funny that people care," Weir said. "I don't have a problem with people saying anything. People could be saying, 'Oh, let's poll about Bode Miller. Let's poll about Michelle Kwan being a lesbian,' something like that. It's not a big deal. Who I sleep with doesn't affect what I'm doing on the ice or what I'm doing in a press conference."

The Tribune interviewed Rudy Galindo, a former U.S. champion and openly gay figure skater who complained that the media was not confronting Weir about the question of whether he is gay.

"He's drinking tea with his pinkie finger in the air, and he's so over the top and feminine, why is everybody asking him about his 'style' and not just ask him if he's gay?" Galindo told the Tribune. "It's the funniest thing to watch."

Weir has never discussed the issue of whether he is gay, though at nationals he said he had been through a tumultuous personal relationship recently that had had a negative impact on his skating. Asked to expound on that issue again here at the Olympics, he has declined.

Weir has called himself "princess-y," during a press conference, and also talked about how he is not a jock, but an athlete dressed in rhinestones and sequins. But nobody felt the need to question him on the gay issue.

Asked about the subject on his personal Web site, Weir replied, "People talk. Figure skating is thought of as a female sport, something that only girly men compete in. 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."

Readers of the Tribune apparently agree, despite the paper's own coverage. A poll asked, "Do you care if Weir is gay?" Of more than 4,000 respondents last night, 92.5% had said no.

Galindo, who is HIV-positive, said he doesn't have respect for Weir because the three-time national champion was copying him.

"We've built up this animosity," Galindo said.
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Old 02-17-2006, 03:42 PM   #6
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it's interesting ... it's less that Johnny's behavior/outfits/attitude/word choice is gay, and more that it isn't straight -- it's as if we know he's gay by default, because no straight man would talk like him and wear his outfits lest he be labled gay.

in a weird way, it seems as if straight men are trapped in a tighter prison of identity than anyone else where any deviation from the norm is viewed as evidence of being gay -- i can see how that might be difficult, and i can see how it's leading to the general dumbing-down of straight men in general. if you look at sitcoms, and if you look at beer commercials and the entire culture surrounding most professional sports, if you aren't a sweaty beer guzzling hairy dude who's powerless in the face of a woman's breasts, then you must be gay.

gay men, for example, are often victims of certain expectations, but everyone seems thrilled when they meet a "straight-acting" gay man -- you know, someone who might have a beer belly, might be hairy, might love football, might despise opera, and is assuredly mascuilne in verbal expressions and gestures. there's more than one way to be gay, it seems, whereas there's little room for straight men to be different.

sad.
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Old 02-17-2006, 04:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
everyone seems thrilled when they meet a "straight-acting" gay man -- you know, someone who might have a beer belly, might be hairy, might love football, might despise opera, and is assuredly mascuilne in verbal expressions and gestures. there's more than one way to be gay, it seems, whereas there's little room for straight men to be different.
Do you think in *some* ways and situations it makes it harder, or imposes its own particular strains, to be gay and not "read" that way to most people? A good friend of mine in college who was like this committed suicide, it was devastating and so hard to come to terms with for me. Now, he was messed up in all sorts of ways, many of which predated him realizing he was gay (I'm sure of this because I knew some of his siblings--also all messed up, in fact his sister tried to kill herself too and nearly succeeded--and some things about the atrocious environment they grew up in). But anyways, while not "macho," he was a Kerouac-toting, pot-smoking, dreadlock-wearing, "soft"-but-cynical-and-embittered sort who didn't fit in well with most of the gay men on campus, and his sexuality tended to be awkwardly (dis)acknowledged by a lot of his straight friends I think. I look back and wonder what additional costs he paid for not meeting expectations of the various categories he fell into socially.
Quote:
Originally posted by LivLuv
What really bugs me about some people is that they'll always say they don't care if people are gay and could have gay friends, but yet when they're around gay people, they stay all hush-hush and obviously feel very awkward, like if they mention something that implies "gayness" (or even talk about their own hetero relationships) it will be offensive to the gay person.
BTW, this is more or less exactly what I meant a few weeks back about the possible virtues of Southern-style blatancy and knowing exactly where people *really* stand with you.
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Old 02-17-2006, 05:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland

Do you think in *some* ways and situations it makes it harder, or imposes its own particular strains, to be gay and not "read" that way to most people? ... I look back and wonder what additional costs he paid for not meeting expectations of the various categories he fell into socially.



this is interesting -- there are times when i feel a need to continuously "out" myself in certain situations because you do want people to know you're gay, and it's a little bit more complex than identity-assertion. there's no question that, usually, big groups of gay men tend to bring out the cattiness, the cut-ups, the put-downs, the misplaced creativity that seems so latent in so many gay men, the gestures, the use of "honey" and "darling" and "puh-lease." it's almost a form of deference to some sort of grand gay archetype that exists somewhere out there in the ether that you know you fall short of, and you'd never want to be it, yet you know that you share some traits and when conditions are right you want to be a part of that narrative.

there's a bar that i go to occasionally in DC that's fairly friendly and has a good mix of people and "types" -- the "types" in the gay community, male and female, are *fascinating* but need their own thread. you have slender young things, big bears, muscle jocks, Banana Republic 30-somethings, older men, the nervous and the wanna-bes. yet, whenever "9 to 5" breaks out over the speakers with the corresponding opening of the movie playing over the various TV screens, all cliquishness breaks down and everyone shouts along -- "Workin' 9 to 5, what a way to make a livin' / Barely gettin' by, it's all takin' and no givin'!"

i do it too.

that said, most gay men will say that they aren't like "most gay men" -- which i take to mean that the dominant archetype actually applies fully (and never totally) to a small number of gay men.

i do think, however, that there are more and more ways to be gay without sacraficing "street cred" or even being (in my favorite term) known as an "Auntie Tom" for not falling into the conga line on cue. and i also think that, the older you get, the more secure people are. usually guys who come out when they are younger are already so obvious that they have little to lose in the eyes of their straight peers, so when you're young and gay and closeted and masculine, you don't want to be associated with THOSE fags -- and i felt this way, too. there were guys from my high school who everyone thought were gay, and lo and behold, they turned out to be. but they were effeminate and a little weird in high school, and i remember thinking, "ugh, i'm not like them." thus, despair followed. it takes a long time to learn how to do it on your terms and so you feel comfortable -- so comfortable that i have no lisp, but i do gesticulate; i love the Stones and Springsteen, but know every word to Les Mis; etc. and it's all arriving at a place of comfort with those parts of you that might be stereotypical, and those parts of you that are not. and that takes time. and support. and i'm very sorry for your friend.



Quote:
BTW, this is more or less exactly what I meant a few weeks back about the possible virtues of Southern-style blatancy and knowing exactly where people *really* stand with you.

sorry i never got back to you with this, here's what he wrote:

"I can understand where she is coming from but I think that because my experience of being gay is so limited in regards to my life while living in the south that I don't really have much to say about it. People didn't really talk about it as much as they did racial issues because there were no "out" people in my town or in my life and I was so deep in the closet that I wanted to marry a girl.

In general I can relate the feeling about knowing how people feel on certain issues to the whole "coming out" process. When you know if a person is homophobic or not it makes it so much easier to come out to them. Not knowing how people are going to react is what keeps most people in the closet for so long.

Does any of that make sense? It makes sense in my head but getting it out is hard."
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Old 02-17-2006, 05:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland

Do you think in *some* ways and situations it makes it harder, or imposes its own particular strains, to be gay and not "read" that way to most people? A good friend of mine in college who was like this committed suicide, it was devastating and so hard to come to terms with for me.
Someone in my family was like this also and committed suicide. He was a farmer who listened to opera and Chopin and just marched to his own weird beat. He wasn't out either (no one in my town was) but I am pretty sure he was gay.

I have another friend from high school who still lives in my tiny hometown and still hasn't come out because there are still no out gays in that town. Everyone assumes he's straight (they haven't seen the rows of gay biographies on his bookshelves) because there is nothing about his appearance or behavior that screams gay; he's just a really normal looking and terrific guy who doesn't have any friends because the other closeted gay men in town (of which there are maybe 3) are terribly effeminate and sing in various church choirs and will probably marry women, and he has nothing in common with them except being in the closet, and all the other men and women his age are married and deadly dull. He had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized about 15 years ago. He's fine now...but still not out, even to (gasp) me. I worry about him. I've tried to get him to move out West where I live so he could have a life but he's paralyzed by his fear. I actually think he would be completely freaked out to hang out with me and my openly gay and extremely-comfortable-in-their-skin friends.
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Old 02-17-2006, 06:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
and i also think that, the older you get, the more secure people are. it takes a long time to learn how to do it on your terms and so you feel comfortable...and it's all arriving at a place of comfort with those parts of you that might be stereotypical, and those parts of you that are not. and that takes time. and support. and i'm very sorry for your friend.
Thank you. And what you just said ought to resonate with any straight person because we go through something similar coming to terms with our failures to be "womanly", or to Be the Man, in both our romantic relationships and our more outward self-presentation. So many straight people feel like they're always having to put on an act socially too, and ironically a roomful of people of your own gender can sometimes be the hardest situation of all. But like you said, the older you get, the more you relax, the less tormented and driven you feel, and the more you're inclined to say, Well if they can't handle the "strangeness," then screw 'em. Incidentally most, if not all, of this friend of mine's partners were much older men--the problem with that was they couldn't really relate to the place he was at in life. No one could, really, that was the awful thing.
Quote:
"People didn't really talk about it as much as they did racial issues because there were no "out" people in my town or in my life and I was so deep in the closet that I wanted to marry a girl.

In general I can relate the feeling about knowing how people feel on certain issues to the whole "coming out" process. When you know if a person is homophobic or not it makes it so much easier to come out to them. Not knowing how people are going to react is what keeps most people in the closet for so long."
And thank you/him for the reply, it makes a lot of sense. It's true, racial identity dominates in the South often to the (unfortunate) exclusion of everything else. Of course the costs for black folks here are higher than for anyone else, certainly higher than for Jews (we can "pass" in most places, but not in Itta Bena we couldn't and then there was this strange thing where black people saw us as white, while white folks didn't...but that's a whole other story). There *were* "out" gay people there, but they tended to be cast as "eccentrics", not really as a whole other category of people. Which maybe (minus the eccentric part) was for the better in the end, and more truthful to how they experienced their identities relative to other folks. Anyhow, like I said when I posed the question, I did understand immediately what my black friend meant when he complained about empty (PC?) Northern pretenses, not just because I've observed it in black-white relations here, but also because I've experienced something similar as a Jew, maybe even as a Southerner whose "redneck" accent lingers on--people pretend to be all accepting and indifferent to such categories to your face, then you overhear (or hear secondhand) some ugly expressions of distrust for and disapproval of "your kind" that you weren't "meant" to hear, lest you know the true score about how they're hearing and perceiving what you say and do. Most times I would rather know the score. Most times.
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Old 02-17-2006, 06:34 PM   #11
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Originally posted by joyfulgirl
I actually think he would be completely freaked out to hang out with me and my openly gay and extremely-comfortable-in-their-skin friends.
See, that to me is the saddest and worst thing of all, when people get to that point, where they've already condemned themselves to a fractured existence as a "fake" and "inadequate" Southern, or smalltown Midwestern, guy or whatever. There is also such a thing as an (underground) gay Orthodox community, men and women who are sincerely committed to observance (and therefore to celibacy, in their case) and as much as I admire what obviously is their deep commitment to their faith and religious identity, I still wonder what the point ultimately is really. It's one thing for my little brother, a straight, married, Orthodox rabbi with a heart and a brain, to push for change and acceptance of open recognition--ultimately even religiously sanctioned marriage--for these folks. But for them, and for now, it seems to me like they're trying to amputatedly force themselves into the mold of a world that just isn't ready for them, and can't accomodate their emotional and sexual needs the way it does those of straight folks.

But maybe it's for the better ultimately that SOMEONE who doesn't fit in stays there, quietly marking time and holding out hope. It's kind of like what Irvine was saying the other day about finding something enviable in kids who get to celebrate both Chanukah and Christmas--if someone else(s) didn't do the work of keeping both paths alive, with all the commitments and sacrifices that implies, there wouldn't be distinctive differences there to share and celebrate and validate, different perspectives on the whole endeavor to draw from and be enriched by.

So hard to watch what it does to the "test cases" in real life, though.
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Old 02-17-2006, 07:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland


But maybe it's for the better ultimately that SOMEONE who doesn't fit in stays there, quietly marking time and holding out hope.
That's a good point. My friend is the lone, quiet voice of dissent in that tiny Southern town, the only one I've ever seen in the whole town with a Kerry bumper sticker and before that a Clinton bumper sticker. People think it's odd that he lives alone and has never openly dated anyone and though he keeps to himself he isn't weird or eccentric so that he actually appears to be one who is happy being alone. So even though he might not stretch people in acceptance of gays (though he is outspoken in the library he works in alongside extremely homophobic evangelical Christians) it's actually quite good that he stretches people in living a different lifestyle, showing by example that getting married and having babies isn't what works for everyone. Meanwhile, all our other classmates from high school have pretty miserable lives there, broken marriages, rotten kids, crappy jobs, etc. They might never admit it but I bet a lot of people look at him with a bit of envy.
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Old 02-17-2006, 08:45 PM   #13
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Who gives a fuck if he is gay, the fact that he goes around in that CCCP shirt while representing his country means he is either stupid or making the lamest political statement since GWB took a stand against abortion.
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TURIN, Italy (AP) _ American Johnny Weir has been catching a few glances at the Winter Olympics. The Delaware resident was wearing a red warm-up jacket with "C-C-C-P" on it during a practice session today.

Those are the Cyrillic initials for the former Soviet Union.

The three-time U-S men's figure skating champion says he got it from Russian pairs skater Tatiana Totmianina (tawt-mee-ah-NEE'-nah) as a birthday present.

He says it's just for fun, the same as if someone was wearing a Madonna T-shirt.
source
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Old 02-17-2006, 08:50 PM   #14
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Who gives a fuck if he is gay, the fact that he goes around in that CCCP shirt while representing his country means he is either stupid or making the lamest political statement since GWB took a stand against abortion.source
OMG, I saw that and freaked b/c I've wanted a CCCP shirt for years! (because I'm obsessed with gymnastics, and gymnastics is truly not the same without the former CCCP)
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Old 02-17-2006, 09:43 PM   #15
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....must...represent...country....must.....wear....apollo....creed's......boxing....trunks.....red....white...............and.......blue........god.........bless...........america!
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