Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

SPORTS Michael Weiss on Ice
by Andrew Davis
2008-02-20

This article shared 7589 times since Wed Feb 20, 2008
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Michael Weiss has been entertaining people with his skating since he was 9 years old. Now, the three-time U.S. champion, 31, is part of the traveling Smucker's Stars on Ice 'Live and In Color' show that will visit Rosemont's Allstate Arena, 5400 N. River, Feb. 23. Weiss discussed everything from the revised scoring system to the perception that skating is a 'gay' sport with Windy City Times.

_________________

Michael Weiss ( left ) , one of the featured skaters, speaks with Windy City Times. Smucker's Stars on Ice will be in town Feb. 23.

_________________

Windy City Times: What can fans expect at this show?

Michael Weiss: They can expect a show that's pretty entertaining for everybody—like they say, 'entertaining for the whole family.' [ Laughs ] I have a 9 year old and an 8 year old who actually watch the show pretty regularly, and it keeps their attention the whole time—which is pretty difficult to do at that age.

Sasha Cohen does a program that's the classic figure-skating beauty, with flexibility and fast spins; a lot of women like that number. There's [ also ] one rock-and-roll number we do, and Jennifer Robinson performs in that; it's a pretty sexy number, and some of the husbands like that. [ Laughs ] And there's something for the kids, too: Todd Eldridge does a number that's pretty funny. Everybody goes away happy.

And there are seats on the ice, which is one of the cool things. I get comments from people, saying that they've never been that close to Olympic-level figure skating. You see it on TV, but you don't really get the perspective of speed and power. You also realize how small the girls are, although they take up the whole TV screen.

WCT: How did you become interested in figure skating?

MW: I had two older sisters, and one of them was a world junior champion in diving, and I actually dove when I was younger. The other sister was a figure skater, and I followed her to the rink and tried on a pair of skates. I got a lot of praise and recognition from some of the coaches about how quickly I picked up some of the elements and maneuvers, and that's what continued to motivate me to get better and better.

When you're a young kid, any type of attention or acknowledgment or recognition that you get for doing something better than other kids ... you want even more. That's what motivated me to continue to skate. Now, years later, I'm performing each night, doing what I love and getting paid to do it.

WCT: What do you like most and least about touring?

MW: It's almost the same thing sometimes. You get to travel the world; by the time I was 25, I had seen everything—and that's cool. But I have [ two children ] and a wife at home, and the worst part is being away from them. It's [ tough ] balancing being on the road and being a family man. I've been able to do things seasonally, so I'm on the road for four to five months and the rest of time I'm able to be with my family. It's kind of a give and take; I'm gone for a long time but when I'm home, I'm completely devoted to them.

WCT: It's interesting that you talk about enjoying cities, because I kept thinking it'd be practice, practice, practice and that you wouldn't get to [ take in ] these cities.

MW: We do [ when we're ] on tour. We just had two and a half days off in San Diego, and my wife and kids flew to spend those days with me. The weather was perfect—75 degrees—and we were at SeaWorld and on the aircraft carrier USS Midway. Also, for my kids it's cool; for people who live on the West Coast, In-n-Out Burger is no big deal but for kids on the East Coast... My sons told all of his friends that he was going to In-n-Out Burger.

WCT: What do you think of the revised scoring system?

MW: I've competed under the old and new systems. Right now, it's kind of confusing for the spectators; it's difficult to understand all the details. [ The new system ] has potential to be good. Before you started with the 6.0, and if you made mistakes, [ the judges ] subtracted points. With this new system, you accumulate points for everything you do positively; you start at zero and a triple toe is four points and a triple axel is 7.5 points—but then the skaters learn what the best point-scoring elements are and they all do the exact same thing. Then, it starts to become a cookie-cutter performance. Also, [ judges' ] cheating is easier to hide in a system with many different nuances.

WCT: Now, you have this move called the 'tornado' [ a backflip with a full twist ] . How does one even come up with something like that?

MW: My dad was an Olympic gymnast, so I've been flipping and twisting since I was a kid. My dad actually taught [ skater ] Scott Hamilton his backflip when I was a kid, and then Scott tried to learn [ the tornado ] but was unsuccessful at being confident and comfortable enough to do it.

[ In 2002, ] the skaters were in town for a tour in my hometown of Washington, D.C., so they came over, and I have a trampoline that I grew up on. I could do [ the tornado ] on the trampoline, and the other skaters said, 'You have to do that on the ice.' In 2003, I did it for the first time in a performance—and, luckily, I survived it.

WCT: You also have a foundation. Could you talk a little bit about that?

MW: Sure. I started the Michael Weiss Foundation a few years ago. When I was a kid, my parents struggled to keep all of us in athletics—they were spending $50,000 a year to keep us skating. I always said that if I were in a situation where I could give back, I would. I am fortunate enough to use my resources and name to make money for the foundation and give scholarships to young kids. We've raised and awarded over $115,000 in scholarships for young figure skaters—and one of our recipients for the last couple of years, Mirai Nagasu, won the ladies' national championship this year. [ Editor's note: Another recipient, Adam Rippon, won the junior men's championship. ]

WCT: Figure skating is often stereotyped as a 'gay' sport. Do you have any comment on that?

MW: Like with any stereotype, it's about not understanding the sport. Figure skating certainly has its share of gay people in it, but I think it provides an atmosphere for gay people to be themselves and be open. If you go to football locker rooms, there are gay people there, but it's not as accepted for a football player to go out on the field with a sequined football helmet. But figure skating not only accepts it, but also rewards it, with grace, athleticism and ballet—but it's also a stereotype that you would consider gay people to be more graceful.

It's also something a lot of young figure skaters deal with growing up; some people will say that figure skating is for girls and not for boys. [ However, ] a lot of people have broken those molds: Elvis Stojko was very macho who did tae kwon do, and Scott Hamilton and Kurt Browning skate in jeans and T-shirts as opposed to the stereotypical figure-skating outfits. Football players get labeled as dumb jocks, and that's not true in all cases.

WCT: What do you consider the highlight of your career to be?

MW: I've had a number of great moments in competitive figure skating that I really enjoyed. One of my coolest moments was in [ the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics ] . Not many Olympic athletes get to perform in an Olympic games in their home country. All they had to do was announce my name and that I'm from the United States, and all the people in the venue were on my side. Then, to go out in front of those 18,000 people in the venue as well as millions of people behind the camera and perform one of the best programs in my life—including landing a quad-toe, triple-toe, double-loop combination, the first time anyone landed that [ combo ] in Olympic competition—and to finish my program to a standing ovation and see the Olympic rings was a pretty special moment for me.

WCT: One more question: Did you see Blades of Glory?

MW: [ Laughs ] Yes—it was hilarious. It was one of the funniest movies I've seen in years.

Smucker's Stars on Ice will perform at Allstate Arena Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $25 and may be purchased at the Allstate Arena box office or Ticketmaster ticket centers; by logging onto www.ticketmaster.com; or by calling 312-559-1212.

For more info on Michael Weiss, see www.michaelweiss.org .


This article shared 7589 times since Wed Feb 20, 2008
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Lightfoot, Chicago to celebrate WNBA champion Chicago Sky Oct. 19 with parade, rally 2021-10-18
--From a press release - CHICAGO — The City of Chicago will celebrate the 2021 WNBA Champion Chicago Sky on Tuesday, Oct. 19, with a downtown parade and rally. The parade will begin at 11AM when the team departs from Wintrust ...


Gay News

Chicago Sky win their first WNBA championship 2021-10-17
- The sixth-seeded Chicago Sky defeated the fifth-seeded Phoenix Mercury 80-74 in game four of the 2021 WNBA Finals on Oct. 17 to close the series and secure the franchise's first WNBA championship in front of a ...


Gay News

SPORTS Red Stars top KC 2-1 on Fan Appreciation Night 2021-10-17
- On the team's Fan Appreciation Night (Oct. 16) at SeatGeek Stadium, the Chicago Red Stars (10-8-5) defeated Kansas City (3-13-6) 2-1 in NWSL action. The Red Stars scored behind an own-goal from Kansas City's Kristen Edmonds ...


Gay News

SPORTS Sky one win from first WNBA title after routing Phoenix 2021-10-16
- On Oct. 15 at Wintrust Arena, the Chicago Sky defeated the Phoenix Mercury by 36 points (86-50)—the largest margin of victory in a WNBA Finals game—to take a two-to-one series lead in the best-of-five series. The ...


Gay News

SPORTS Sky's Vandersloot named to All-WNBA Second Team 2021-10-15
- Chicago Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot has been named to the 2021 All-WNBA Second Team, per a team press release. This is the fourth consecutive season and fifth time overall Vandersloot is an All-WNBA honoree. It also ...


Gay News

SPORTS Blackhawks drop season opener against Colorado 2021-10-14
- On Oct. 13, the Chicago Blackhawks fell in an early hole and couldn't recover, falling 4-2 to the Colorado Avalanche in the season opener. Colorado scored thrice in the first 10 minutes of play, which proved ...


Gay News

SPORTS Chicago Red Stars power past Orlando 1-0 2021-10-14
- The Chicago Red Stars, behind an early Kealia Watt goal and a clean sheet from Cassie Miller, defeated the Orlando Pride at home (Bridgeview's SeatGeek Stadium) Oct. 13 by a score of 1-0. During the game's ...


Gay News

SPORTS Chicago Sky lose in OT to Phoenix; finals tied at 1-1 2021-10-14
- On Oct. 13, the Chicago Sky fell to the Phoenix Mercury 91-86 in overtime in game two of the 2021 WNBA Finals at Phoenix's Footprint Center. Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot dished out a team-high 20 points ...


Gay News

SPORTS White Sox eliminated from playoffs 2021-10-13
- The Chicago White Sox's season has ended. The Houston Astros advanced to their fifth consecutive American League Championship Series on Oct. 12 by defeating the White Sox 10-1 at Chicago's Guaranteed Rate Field in game four ...


Gay News

SPORTS Raiders coach resigns after anti-LGBTQ, racist emails surface 2021-10-12
- Following recent articles in The Wall Street Journal and New York Times detailing the use of racist, homophobic and misogynistic terms by Jon Gruden in emails reportedly dating back to 2010, he has resigned as Las ...


Gay News

SPORTS Chicago Red Stars fall to OL Reign 3-2 2021-10-11
- Mallory Pugh returned to the scoresheet with a first half goal and Tatumn Milazzo scored her first career NWSL (National Women's Soccer League) goal in the second. However, the Chicago Red Stars fell to the OL ...


Gay News

SPORTS Chicago Sky win first game of WNBA finals 2021-10-10
- The Chicago Sky are going into game two of the WNBA finals with a 1-0 series lead after defeating the Phoenix Mercury 91-77 in an away game on Oct. 10. The Sky had six players in double figures (all five starters ...


Gay News

SPORTS Chicago Sky win, advance to first finals since 2014 2021-10-07
- The Chicago Sky are headed to the WNBA Finals for the first time since 2014, as the team defeated the Connecticut Sun 79-69 in game four of the 2021 WNBA playoff semifinals on Oct. 6 to win the series three to ...


Gay News

Chicago Sky player named to WNBA All-Rookie Team 2021-10-05
- Chicago Sky guard Dana Evans has been selected to the 2021 WNBA All-Rookie Team. Evans is joined on the squad by Aari McDonald (Atlanta Dream), Michaela Onyenwere (New York Liberty), Charli Collier (Dallas Wings) and DiDi ...


Gay News

LGBT HISTORY MONTH Pro baseball player Glenn Burke refused to live a lie 2021-10-05
- You could say that Glenn Burke, the first Major League Baseball player to come out, is having a good season. In March, best-selling author Andrew Maraniss published a thoughtful biography called Singled Out: The True Story ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.