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From fox fur to faux fur, Weir will change costume

Replacement will be made before Olympics

Johnny Weir has come under fire from animal-rights groups for wearing fox fur on his free skate costume.
Johnny Weir has come under fire from animal-rights groups for wearing fox fur on his free skate costume. (Getty Images)

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By icenetwork.com staff writers
(01/28/2010) - Johnny Weir is going from fox fur to faux fur after fury from animal rights groups over his free skate costume.

Friends of Animals asked the three-time national champion to stop wearing fur after he debuted his new long program costume at the 2010 AT&T Figure Skating Championships in Spokane. After numerous pressures, Weir obliged, and issued the following statement exclusively to icenetwork.com.

"I would like to announce that due to pressures and threats from a certain animal rights group I will be changing the genuine fox fur on my free program costume that I will use in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, B.C., to white faux fur," said Weir. "I made this decision after several threats were sent to me about disrupting my performance in the Olympic Games and my costume designer, Stephanie Handler, was repeatedly sent messages of hate and disgust. I do not want something as silly as my costume disrupting my second Olympic experience and my chance at a medal, a dream I have had since I was a kid.

"I want to publicly acknowledge my knowledge of the fur trade industry and the fact that I am totally understanding of the methods used in this industry. I also understand both sides of the argument of animal activists and fur lovers alike. My knowledge comes from years of torment from several anti-fur groups in America and abroad. I do get the messages, and I do hear you.

"I am not a person who holds ill will to anyone, and I respect these activists as they are living their freedom of opinion and speech, but I am also entitled to my own decisions and choices.

"I hope these activists can understand that my decision to change my costume is in no way a victory for them, but a draw. I am not changing in order to appease them, but to protect my integrity and the integrity of the Olympic Games as well as my fellow competitors.

"Just weeks away from hitting my starting position on the ice in Vancouver, I have technique and training to worry about and that trumps any costume and any threat I may receive.

"I wish everyone well, I hope the Olympics in Vancouver are a great success for all the athletes and nations participating, and I hope maybe on day in the future, everyone can accept everyone for who they are, not what the choose."