Animal Rights Activists Threaten Life of US Figure Skater
U.S. figure skater Johnny Weir says he received threats from anti-fur activists that made him fear for his safety, causing him to scrub any plans to stay at a hotel while in Vancouver for the Olympics.
"I felt very threatened," he said Saturday. "I'm not allowed to say how everything got through, but my agent got letters and faxes and e-mails. I got letters at the ice rink, somebody found my phone number.
"All these crazy fur people. Security-wise, to stay in a hotel would be very difficult. There have been threats against me. I didn't want to get hurt."
Weir is sharing a suite with U.S. ice dancer Tanith Belbin in the Olympic village. The longtime friends have their own bedrooms and bathrooms.
Belbin won Olympic silver in 2006 with partner Ben Agosto. A three-time national champion, Weir, who finished fifth in Torino, was third at this year's nationals to gain the final spot on the U.S. team.
The men's short program is Tuesday with the free skate set for Thursday.
"I'm just an easy person to pick on because I like fur," he said. "It's easy to put your case against an athlete who is going to the Olympics. It's a very good, easy thing for these activists.
"It's a very scary thing. I'm a figure skater, I'm not some huge politician who gets these things all the time."
Weir was criticized by animal-rights activists after he donned a costume in nationals with white fox fur on the shoulder. He said after the event that he would wear faux fur in the Games, but has since changed his mind.
"It was not because I was pressured to change it, but because I don't like faux fur," Weir explained. "I didn't change the costume, I'm just switching back to another costume."