Oh, one more thing: Lysacek, who used to date skater Tanith Belbin, still wears the ring an ex-girlfriend gave him, and although Weir ostensibly keeps his sexuality under wraps, really, it's a mystery only in the sense that if JOHNN_ WEIR IS GA_ were a puzzle on Wheel of Fortune, it would still, technically, be unsolved. As inspiring as Lysacek's preternatural concentration, poise, and humility are, Weir's defiant, witty, "I am who I am" stance is a welcome finger in the eye of every homophobe who has ever decided that skating needs butching up. As he saunters into the Ice Vault's snack bar after practice, clad in full footballer's-wife regalia—shiny gold boots, purple leather gloves, a calf-length fur coat that draws the wistful caresses of a female Russian Olympic hopeful, fur earmuffs, and oversize Jackie O sunglasses—he's like David Bowie as the Man Who Fell to Jersey. Three spotty teenage boys by the video games look unsure whether they should beat him up or ask for his autograph. "I love walking through this place looking like this and scaring the hockey people," he deadpans. "Although I do get called 'Ma'am' more often than I'd like."
THE RIVALS: "We've been pigeonholed."
Men's figure skating has always attracted gay men, and it has always been a target of South Park-style homophobic derision. This has led to a battle between those who think the sport needs to lose the frills—to be de-gayed, if you will—and those who believe that the style and artistry of skating are just as important as the horsepower required to land a quadruple jump. So The Evan and Johnny Show has become The Dude vs. the Diva, and even though both guys get that gimmicks sell, they take pains to say that whatever's between them, it isn't personal, let alone a battle of the sexualities. "I think we've matured," says Weir. "We both understand that hating on somebody isn't going to give you what you want." In December, when Weir arrived in his Tokyo hotel room for the Grand Prix, the door to the next room opened and there was Lysacek—"Sir Lysacek," as Weir tweeted. "I'll try to keep it down," Weir told him. "We speak," Weir says. "I mean, we're fine. I accept all of his weirdness and he accepts mine. I think."
"You know, I get it. I'm the flamboyant, sparkly one over here," Weir adds. "And he's the hardworking American over there. And that's how we've been pigeonholed. But I'm more than that, and he is too. He has this sweet and endearing side—I mean, to be 13 feet tall and a figure skater, you have to work your ass off! And he does."
"I used to complain all the time, 'Why can't I be short like all the other guys?' " says Lysacek, laughing. And he's willing to give credit where it's due: "That rivalry," he says, "made me look at every aspect of my skating and say, 'I don't just want to beat him. I want to beat every one of these guys. Now, how am I going to do it?' "