Planets are aligned for Weir's comeback

January, 19, 2012
1/19/12
11:38
PM ET

I wasn't surprised when I saw Johnny Weir's comeback announcement. All the planets in his personal universe have aligned to make a return to competition completely logical. If he attacks his mission with all the purposefulness he promises, Weir could have the best of two worlds: Representing his country in a country he loves.

The 27-year-old Weir, long coached by Russians, speaks the language and has immersed himself in Russian culture; earlier this month, he married an Atlanta-based lawyer of Russian heritage. What better place to visualize the skate of his life than his home away from home during the 2014 Sochi Olympics?

There's another intangible. Weir has always been comfortable in his own skin, and he is a thoughtful, witty interview, but there was one area where he stubbornly asserted his right to remain silent. Now that his sexual orientation is a non-issue (as it always should have been), that's one less distraction from his goal. If he's called on to be a spokesman for gay athletes, my guess is he's ready.

I also wasn't surprised to see Weir's news go viral. There may be better jumpers and spinners among the pool of men gunning for Sochi in two years, but there is no better pure performer, and that has won him a huge and loyal fan base.

Limber and elegant, a risk-taker in his costumes and choreography, Weir's artistry is hard to fit within the rigid mathematics that now circumscribe figure skating. I thought Weir's scores in the free skate at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics were too low, and I wasn't alone. He'll have to earn his way into the stony hearts and calculators of the judges again, and that will likely involve full mastery of a quadruple jump.

There are no sure bets two years out from the next Winter Games. But I have no doubt it will be interesting to see Johnny Weir give skating another go.

Bonnie D. Ford covers Olympic sports for ESPN.com.

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