Perhaps not to the surprise of too many in the skating world, three-time U.S. champion Johnny Weir announced his retirement from Olympic-eligible figure skating and ended his bid to compete at a third Winter Olympics. He made the announcement today on the Today Show, accompanied by news that he will serve as a figure skating analyst at the Sochi Olympics next February for NBC.
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Hinting at the retirement announcement yesterday to his Twitter followers, Weir wrote, "I've got some big stuff to talk about!" He followed his tweet up with his on-air announcement and a post for the Falls Church Free Press, in which he explained, "While I am not old, part of being a champion is knowing when your time is up."
After not competing since his sixth-place finish at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, Weir began his comeback last year after announcing it at the 2012 U.S. Championships. And while his first competition back was solid - he finished fourth at the 2012 Finlandia Trophy - his road thereafter was not.
Weir withdrew after the short program at his next event, Rostelecom Cup, due to injury and sat out the rest of the season. And when he had not entered the qualifying competitions for Nationals this season, the writing was on the wall.
Weir leaves the sport as one of the American greats of his generation. During his 14 seasons on the international circuit, he was the 2001 World junior champion, the 2008 World bronze medalist, and the 2004, 2005, and 2006 U.S. champion. He won 13 medals on the senior Grand Prix Series, including two bronze medals at the Grand Prix Final and four Grand Prix golds. He finished fifth at the 2006 Torino Olympics and sixth at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, giving perhaps the most brilliant performance of his career in the free skate.
Weir will be joining the NBC team at Sochi with Olympic ladies gold medalist Tara Lipinski and Olympic dance silver medalist Tanith Belbin.