International Figure Skating Forum has a write-up of Johnny Weir's recent conference call with news media. Wei sounds fired up and ready to attack the season. Here are some interesting excerpts.
On working with the Petrenkos and Galina Zmievskaya:
"Last year my team (which includes Nina and Viktor Petrenko) helped me to believe in myself and the training I had done prior to my events," Weir acknowledged. "They really got me prepared. Last season was one of the best I have ever had – I medaled at every event I competed in except the Grand Prix Final." Weir placed fourth at that event in Torino.
Training with Zmievskaya and the Petrenkos has its challenges Weir admitted.
"I work every day in Russian which is a foreign language for me," he said. "For Soviet and Russian sportsmen there was always a sense of determination and need that people felt through sport, so if you were not the best you would not achieve very much in life," Weir said. "The Russian coaches, especially of those of Galina’s era, all teach in a very Soviet way and if you are not doing the maximum to achieve a result you may as well stop training.
On the quad:
Weir said he has noticed changes in his body through his new training regime. "This year I saw some kind of shocking change when I could not get my jeans on because working on the crazy spins and jumps has made my legs bigger," he said. "But I can see a huge creative difference ... and that is something I definitely needed to work on. It’s definitely difficult to teach an old dog new tricks."
The 2008 U.S. silver medalist said he is planning on adding a quad to his free program this season, even though he is not a fan of the jump. "I don’t believe the quad is the be all and end all of figure skating and I am a firm disbeliever in that theory," Weir said, "and I think it can take away from a beautiful program when people are trying and failing. I admire people who can do it as if it is no problem – but if I had my way I would not do it."
On the judging system:
Though he loves his new programs, Weir said he is not in love with the new judging system. "I am happy with my short program ("On the Wings of Time") but there is precious little time to create a mood and do something beautiful ... running from element to element and throw in some flair," he said. "But I am excited to reveal it at Skate America.
"I don’t believe this (new judging) system promotes anything except the technical elements. There is very little time to even breathe in a program," he said. "There is really no chance to set a mood or to show something interesting. I think Jeff did a very good job with his program (last season) of balancing the artistic with the technical and Stéphane Lambiel is also very good at it."
I'm so glad Weir is healthy and excited about the season. It'll be exciting to get a look at him in Skate America this coming week!