Johnny Weir and His Coaches
i have figure skating fans from aound the country, and we've been e-mailing each other on what is happening to Johnny. Most of us agree that his coaches have been helping him to deal with the CoP but we have seen no improvements in his Technical. We don't believe he will ever do a quad but we love him anyway. Everything else was there at his 2004 Worlds debut where he went from Group 3 to Group 2 to Group 1 and place 5th. High praise for a newcomer!!
With Priscilla arranging him to get coached by TT, he zoomed into prominence and rightly so. There was no doubt in our minds that with a quad he woud win or podium at 2006 Olys. Didn't happen.
But for 2007 he met up with his present coaches who taught him the value of careful skating. I think that was wrong. Johnny is a beautiful skater, and the cautious skating took away from his overall presentation. While watching him at NKH he was so slow and cautious,and yes, he didn't err but what happened to the way he used to draw you into his program because that was his highlight.
My e-mail friends and I differ in explaining what we feel is bringing his presentation down when so many other competitors have good presentation, if not outstanding, but also with a quad. We had thought 2010 would be his Oly gold, but we are doubting that now.
btw, presentaion for us is more the 6.0 presentation and not the CoP PCs.
First of all, at NHK his cold was bringing his presentation down, not his coaches. Maybe you and your e-mail friends can skate a 4 minute program with flawless technique and presentation when you have a fever, but most of us mere mortals can't.
Second, and in all seriousness, what makes you think his coaches are teaching him to skate cautious?! His coaches have been teaching him how to fight till the end of his program and not give up when something goes wrong. He is skating cautious because of his nerves/pressure/and his mental issues. His coaches are not magicians, they can't fix his head overnight, if that is at all possible.
And lastly, maybe Johnny no longer has the same spark he had when he was younger because of the thrashing he recieved from fans and media after the Olympics and ever since then. That kind of hostility sure takes the joy out of skating, don't you think. He has never been the same since. A comaprable situation is what happened to Oda. He was also treated like absolute garbage and as a result "lost the joy". No duh, of course, anyone would in that situation.
Maybe if people were more considerate towards others and didn't jump to silly conclusions, based on one performance, that his coaches are leading him down the wrong path or whatever, and harped on him less (this also applies skaters like Kimmie, Joubert, Oda, Asada, etc.) he would not be that scared to mess up and skate less cautiously. I am fully aware that it's never going to happen, so look for more cautious skating from him and numerous others in the future!
First of all, my e-mail friends and I are fans of Johnny. So there is no need to think of us as not. We may sound offensive to you but that is not intended., and we may well be that Johnny can not do any wrong fans, too. For your information, three of the friends agree with you that a cold made his presentation not up to par. The rest of us didn't know of any cold. So who is jumping to conclusions?
That is a perspective I hadn't thought of before. Johnny gives the impression that he doesn't really care if people approve of him or not. He hears his own drummer.
Originally Posted by psycho
A big contrast with Nobunari Oda, who's problem was that he himself thought he was a terrible wretch for getting a ticket riding his moped.
I think that might be a big part of it. "Presentation" -- as in the way skaters like Weir, Stephane Lambiel, Michelle Kwan and John Curry draw the audience in to their performances -- is indeed a lot different from "getting lots of CoP points." Something has to be sacrificed. I suppose it is the coaches' job to generate as many points as possible, including whatever it is that judges give PCSs for.
Originally Posted by Joesitz
Last edited by Mathman; 11-30-2008 at 09:26 PM.
I dunno, although he hasn't had another Otonal, and I hope he will!, I just re-watched his programs from last year, and they are quiet but RIVETING for me.
I'm a fan, so I'm biased, but for me Johnny still has that something special. For me, he's the most enjoyable men's singles skater ever. Hyperbolic I know, but I've been watching skating since Santee and Hamilton in 1980, and for me it's true. (Though I was a huge Boitano fan back in the day, as well, and Orser, too, and many since. But none like Johnny.)
Anyway, I think Johnny still really cares about his skating and doesn't want to let himself, his coaches, or his fans down, so he isn't maybe as carefree as he once allowed himself to be (maybe), although he always lets his hair down a bit after the comp is over.
There were quite a few compliments on his NHK programs re: presentation/artistry/moving people emotionally, so he's still reaching some people, anyway.
Ice Dance Obsessee
I don't know, personally I thought his LP at NHK was a step up performance wise, despite his feeling ill. Not his best of course, but I saw more passion than at SA. To me, that LP has potential to grow and build into something powerful, but as of right now IMO it is a work in progress. Same with the SP.
I do think he's less carefree than he was at the Olympics. The 06/07 was a damaging one for him, with questions as to whether he'd continue (I seem to recall him saying he didn't want to compete at one point but I could be wrong) and some continued backlash from the Olympics. That's got to be very draining and I think deep down it would be at the very least a little bothersome. There seems to be more spark when he's off the ice at times; I think Johnny is trying to pace himself to make it to the 2010 Olympics so he can really bring it then.
I like what rallycairn said; Johnny's programs have the tendency to be quiet yet as said, riveting. His style is not very in your face; it kind of draws you in slowly without you realizing it (that is how I became a fan). There's a quiet power to his skating-more obvious when he's healthy of course though.
and... World Peace!
Actually I think he talks big but he's "lying"... I don't think that he would make a big deal about how much he doesn't care if he really didn't... I just rewatched all of the 2006 stuff I have on tape (converting it all to DVDs) and I think it was definite posturing.
Originally Posted by Mathman
"People aren't going to like me, and so *big shrug* I don't care."
then when it all hit the fan he was wondering why everyone was being mean to him. he DID care, he was just to tired to put up a front anymore.
it's that whole "I'm rubber you're glue" thing we all said multiple times at recess, and then back in class we were writing and drawing nasty evil things about that recess bully.
Figure Skating Fan
I'm looking for his nhk performance at youtube to get a better perspective. On paper, I like that he tried a 3 jump combo (I don't remember him doing it before), but he had problems in two other jumps. Still the base value of his elements increased almost 8 points after the GoE... so had he executed well all his elements, maybe he would have outscored Nobu.
Things haven't been easy for Johnny, and I guess that since 2004 I had expected him to medal several times at worlds, only happening finally last year. He's extremely talented, but talent can only take you so far, and the hours of training are needed. I think he now knows that, and as he sees the results of his hard work, he can only get better. I hope he really does.
It Is What It Is
You know the saying, it is what it is? Well, that's the case with Kimmie, Johnny et al. They are at the point in their skating careers where it is as good as it is going to get. They aren't going to suddenly deliver a quad (Johnny) or a triple axel (Kimmie) at any point in any program. Their jump technique is "fixed" for better or worse. You can't make a Pavlova out of a jumper and visa versa. In the rare case when you get a combination of the two i.e. Michelle Kwan and Mao Asada, consider it a gift.
Johnnie is pretty much a combination of the two. I don't consider the lack of a quad a failure on his part. He is the only male skater who delivers the best of both worlds. Rudy Galindo was the other one.
L'art pour l'art
Oh Joe, you know you can't start a thread like this without getting trashed...
Hmm, where to start...
Johnny is definitely a very artistic skater, that didn't change - perhaps he even improved on the expression of his movements. Where you can see this best? In his exhibitions. I just say Ave Maria. And if I see this - I see at the same time why there probably won't be a second Otonal, not now, not after everyone has understood how to maximise points under COP. Johnny's strength is his smoothness, it lies in the slow drawn out movements - Johnny's strength is that he makes 2 crossovers look more special than 95% of all Morosovian straightline step sequences. But nobody wants that anymore - two crossovers mean no transitions, no choreography, no difficulty.
If you take a look at Otonal you see that there is lots of stroking, lots of beautiful crossovers, accompanied by few but very poignant and elegant arm movements. The program lives from Johnny's smoothness, from his line... The step sequences don't have a high level, perhaps 1 or 2 - but they were so effective.
I am no COP-hater - but let's just say that COP wasn't the best thing that ever happened to Weir. He tried for some time the "I don't care"-approach and skated as if there was no COP (and got the hate for that). And that didn't work out. He wrote in one of his last journal entries that they worked very hard on the footwork, because he needs that to get the points. "Long, stretched-out movements" (Quote by Dick Button about Weir's skating) don't work anymore - long and streched-out movements mean slow, no choreo and no transitions.
Do I think that his skating has changed? Yes, definitely. He went from a few mesmerising and utterly unique performances in 04, 05 and 06 (most notably IMO Valse triste at Worlds 2004, first time Otonal, Otonal at Nats - and of course the Swan at Nats), to becoming a very inconsistent skater, the incosistency began in late 05 and lasted till 07. And in my opinion there was nothing appealing about those 1,5 seasons - and nothing artistic either. He changed coaches in order to change his approach. So I never would say it's his coaches' fault. He wanted this. He wanted more success (and got that!), he probably didn't want to be another Sandhu who never even medalled at Worlds.
Johnny suddenly meant business - and as a result his skating became more business-like. The childlike abandon, the subdued bliss he seemed to exude in those few performances mentioned above is gone. As is some of the, and I don't have a better word for it, feminine delicacy his skating had. Why did that happen? I think before he decided to become a contender again he really was mainly an artist, at first an artist with some good projects, then an unemployed artist. After the change he decided to make his art was "spoilt", he decided to follow the new rules (COP) of the art. But art shouldn't have rules - that what makes it art.
When I was 14 I learnt this fantasy by Mozart, the piece is quite famous. I had my very own interpretation of it, when I played it, it sounded like a mixture of Mussorgsky and Rachmaninov, I changed the timing, I changed the dynamics - in my version I imagined myself as a wolf chasing through the Siberian Taiga (I was very russophile back then). It was my very favourite piece. I played this piece at several recitals and concerts and got much applause. Then I was supposed to take part in a competition and suddenly my teacher set the metronome and I was told to play the piece like you play a piece by Mozart and not like I played it. I learnt to play this piece like you play a piece by Mozart. The wolf was gone, the taiga was gone and I was just another upper middle class girl who played pretty piano tunes.
Did this happen to Johnny - I don't know. I only know what was before and what is now. He is still a fantastic skater and I have four performances of the last season and this one that I really like (CoC LP, Nats LP, Worlds SP and NHK SP this season). Especially the Nats LP had a big wow-factor, very different from the Otonal-wow-factor though. It looked more like a Takahashi performance than Otonal. But there will always be exhibitions.
(The fact that I am now at med-school may tell you that I chucked out the metronome, never went to that competition and therefore freed the wolf from its cage. The wolf is living happily ever after in the Siberian Taiga, Mozart is being played like Mussorgsky again - I never regretted it because music still is one of my greatest passions, and it lives free.)
Last edited by Medusa; 11-30-2008 at 10:58 PM.
Dreaming and dancing
I do not know if he is lacking what he used to have before because I became his fan after the Olympics.
But I totally agree with the following:
He is really mature and beautiful in his presentation. I really liked Jeff's skating for a similar reason. Very calm, quiet, beautiful, and mature. Everything he does is so high quality and beautiful.
Originally Posted by lmarie086
He has his own style that is so unique that no one else can have. His music, choreos, and costumes are always very well thoughtout and the way he presents it is very loving.
His style is so delicate and sensitive that perhaps it won't work for ppl who prefer more dramatic style. But I just absolutely adore it.
Ice Dance Obsessee
Medusa, you have such a thoughtful way with words. Great post .
Originally Posted by Medusa
Medusa, did you ever get to see Johnny's number "Fallen Angels" with Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov?
You know, Johnny can't win with some people no matter what he does.
He got trashed and belittled pretty much nonstop for failing to medal at the Olympics and for only winning the bronze at 2006 Nationals both by the media and on skating discussion boards. People constantly urged that he needed to get a new coach and a new way of training or just quit, because his career was over. So he changed everything - he moved, got new coaches, changed his entire training regimen and won a World medal and has won silver or gold at all of his Grand Prix's for the last two seasons. And now people complain that he is no good anymore and has lost the "joy" and was so much better when he was losing, so he should never have changed anything. Sheesh.
Joe, you started this thread by insisting you are a Johnny fan. OK, but many of us recall that you have attacked Johnny and his fans numerous times on other threads in the past, so that sounds a bit disingenous, as if you are just saying it in an effort to be able to criticize him again without coming under fire for it. At any rate, the fact is that Johnny is now number four in the world and rising, and before he changed coaches, he had fallen out of the top ten. He is an athlete, and his goal is to win. Obviously, it is working.
People keep saying that Johnny doesn't care what people think of him. What nonsense. He has said many times how much it hurts him to receive hate mail and death threats when he skates badly, and he recently shut down his MySpace page permanently because people were leaving cruel messages for him on there. Just because he doesn't feel he should be obligated to conform to a plasticized, robotic image and only say words that have been pre-approved for him by USFS - just because he thinks there is nothing wrong with a person being themself, that doesn't mean he isn't hurt when he is attacked. No one likes to be hated.
and... World Peace!
libby - I think you meant 2007 nationals.. he won in 2006 (I was there! )