I got Johnny’s book just after noon on Saturday, and read through it in about two hours. Of course I knew the story already-or at least, I thought I did. Or thought I didn’t, because Johnny has sometimes said contradictory things in the past.
The first real shock of the book for those familiar with Johnny’s story is his confession he faked illness at the 2002 Cup of Russia because of the USFSA’s pressuring him to conform in his costume. In fact, though he admitted in Pop Star on Ice he was undertrained for the 2003 season, he portrait he paints of himself at 18 is truly merciless. It also sets the tone for his repeated slams of both skating officials and judges, culminating in his dramatically swearing off the USA jacket after 2009 Nationals(unfortunate timing for this confession, when his fans are clamoring for him to get to perform along with Evan at this year’s gala. Ooops.); one has the feeling he’s been wanting to talk about this for a very, very long while. Though there is one thought of his that I don’t believe; that they would have sent Ryan Bradley to the Olympics in his place if it wasn’t for the publicity. At the very least they would have had to lowball him below Bradley at 2010 Nationals; otherwise he probably could have successfully taken them to the Court of Arbitration for Sport; his record was too much better than Bradley’s.
His relationship with Priscilla was already dissected in Pop Star On Ice(though it’s more painful here, because he describes the breakup, and how he put it off in a manner that I’m pretty sure violates skating etiquette), but this is the first in-depth look at his relationship with Galina. I think she comes out looking not quite as good as he probably thinks she comes out looking; the outside reader can read all they want about The Russian Way(tm), but will still wonder if the antics he describes at 2008 Worlds were really necessary.
Reading the responses on the message boards, most of the attention, rather amusingly, seems to be firstly on a single derisive reference he throws at Micheal Weiss(whose image these days is far, far better than it was when he was competitive; and I’ve heard enough not to blame Johnny for resenting him), and about his 2004 Cup of Russia handstand contest with Evan(he actually doesn’t speak that negatively about Evan in the book; maybe because people expected he would!). Which, really, sounds exactly like what a pair of 19/20 year old male athletes would be stupid enough to do. Who says Johnny Weir lacks testosterone?
Most tell-all books aim to shape a public image, and Welcome to My World is no exception: one thing Johnny emphasizes is his country boy background, and how hard he really did work by the end of it. His interview this morning on The Today Show did the same thing. But then again, defying stereotypes has always been his specialty. Chalk it all up to his latest love letter in the dirty love(I really should be buying that song..) affair he’s carrying on with the lot of us.