US Figure Skating has announced that Johnny Weir is sitting out the next competitive season. I'm not really sure anyone is suprised at this news. From Weir's announcement at Icenetwork:
The main reason for my decision is to have more time to reinvent my skating. I want to create a new skating image for myself so that when I return to competitive skating, I can perform in a way that is both unique and inspiring. I say all of this in hopes that I will return as a competitor for the 2011-2012 season.
At twenty-six years old, I have been competing at the highest level of the sport since 2000. Training and competing have been my only way of life for the past thirteen years. While it has been a magical journey, I feel that a brief hiatus will be truly beneficial to my skating and my future.
Although I'm taking a break from competitive skating, I still hope to be on the ice as often as possible, training and performing for my many fans around the world. I have even selected music for my next competitive programs and am already dreaming up costumes.
If things go the way they are now for Weir (making headlines basically for rolling out of bed in the morning), I don't really see him competing again. But he says in his statement that he wants to compete next year, and by then perhaps the media obsession will have worn off, so hopefully he will be back.
Whether he skates competitively or not, he's still an amazing skater to watch and I only wish there were even more opportunities for him to perform in front of US fans.
The article doesn't mention who will be invited to the Grand Prix events in Weir's place.