Weir visits St. Petersburg to skate in "Ice Stories"

Johnny gets to tour city while he's in Russia

Johnny Weir mimics the pose of the statue of Aleksandr Pushkin.
Johnny Weir mimics the pose of the statue of Aleksandr Pushkin. (courtesy of Johnny Weir)


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By Johnny Weir, special to
(10/08/2008) - On Oct. 1, I performed in a show in St. Petersburg, Russia, called called "Ice Stories," which was held at St. Petersburg's Ledovoe Dvoretz (Ice Palace).

The show was a huge success and was nearly sold out. It was to promote culture and sport in the city of St. Petersburg and was hosted by the St. Petersburg City Ministry of Culture.

There were many big stars in the show including Olympic and world champions Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin, European and world champions Maria Petrova and Alexei Tikhonov, world junior and Russian champions Maria Mukhortova and Maxim Trankov and reigning Russian champion Sergei Voronov. I was the only foreign guest skater.

While I was in St. Petersburg, I was invited to the Bosco Sport store on Nevsky Prospekt to see the new collection of Russian Olympic gear! Bosco Sport has created uniforms for the Russian Olympic Team since the turn of the millennium. I'd like to say thank you to Bosco Sport for having me and for treating me so well!

The actual show was fantastic. I skated three numbers, including one special performance with Voronov and Konstantin Menshov. I performed "Ave Maria" and my old Russian exhibition number, "Yunona y Avos." The crowd response was so positive, and I really enjoyed skating for the St. Petersburg audience.

As an homage to my upcoming free program, the producer of the show asked if we could do a performance to the Russian version of "Belle" from the musical Notre Dame de Paris. There are three male characters in this song, so I skated with Voronov and Menshov. I think it was definitely the most interesting performance of the night and the most fun for us to skate. The audience went crazy with the "Bravos" before we even finished. I can say, though, that "Belle" is not a part of my competitive program.

While I was in Russia, I practiced at the Academy Club in St. Petersburg where Alexei Evgenevich Urmanov and Oleg Kimovich Vassiliev train their skaters. I am always so interested to see the young skaters in every country I go to, and in Russia there is so much upcoming talent. I was very impressed with the skaters who train at the Academy.

Overall, I was very happy to be in Russia and to perform. The show was very close in time to Skate America, so it was a good time to be in front of an audience again. I am always refreshed and recharged after I skate in Russia, and I hope that the momentum I gained in St. Petersburg will carry over to Skate America and the rest of my season.