When you're watching the 2006 Winter Olympic men's figure skating competition from Italy next February, you can thank Johnny Weir for doing his best to give the U.S. three men's singles berths.
Headliner for Saturday's Sun Valley Ice Show performance at the outdoor rink, Weir is the two-time reigning U.S. men's singles champion.
After successfully defending his U.S. title at Portland, Ore. this past winter, Weir went into the 2005 World Championships at Moscow, Russia with high hopes. He had finished fifth at worlds in Germany in 2004 after winning his first national title at Atlanta, Ga.
But Weir aggravated a foot injury in Moscow and had to battle mightily after a ninth place in the short program to finish fourth overall at worlds.
That finish, combined with a surprise bronze medal from 19-year-old upstart Evan Lysacek and a 10th-place finish by Tim Goebel, gave the Americans three men's singles berths in next year's Winter Olympics.
Weir, 21, a 5-9 Coatesville, Pa. native who competes out of The Skating Club of New York, started skating relatively late, at the age of 12, but has made tremendous progress. He won the 2001 World Junior championship and was a U.S. alternate to the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Also starring with Weir in the Sun Valley Ice Show of Saturday, Aug. 13 will be Irina Grigorian, American Open professional champion, along with Anita Hartshorn and Frank Sweiding, professional world pairs skating champions and U.S. Open Pairs Champions.
Tickets for the dinner buffet and show, and reserved bleacher seating may be purchased online at www.sunvalley.com, or by calling Sun Valley Recreation Reservations, 622-2135.
Meanwhile, current world bronze medalist Lysacek will appear in the Aug. 20 ice show on Sun Valley ice. The remaining ice show schedule:
Aug. 20: 2005 world silver medalists and 2005 U.S. gold medalists Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto, and Evan Lysacek, 2005 world bronze medalist.
Aug. 27: 2005 world silver medalist and 2005 U.S. silver medalist Sasha Cohen.
Sept. 3: Olympic gold medalist and former world champion Brian Boitano.
Sept. 10: Three-time Olympian and eight-time British champion Steven Cousins.