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Figure skater
Weir still no stranger to controversy

Figure skater
Weir still no stranger to controversy

Figure skater Johnny Weir, who during the Turin Olympics famously dodged questions about his sexuality, is causing waves again in a decision to play Jesus on ice.

On Saturday night at the 2007 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Spokane, Wash., Weir will become Christ for his long program entry, set to "Child of Nazareth" by Maxime Rodriguez, telling the story of Jesus through skating.

The three-time U.S. champion is in second place after Thursday night's short program, with 78.14 points to Evan Lysacek's 78.99. Ryan Bradley is a distant third.

"In no way am I portraying the actual entity of Jesus. I'm just performing the story of his life," Weir told reporters at the event. "It's an interesting concept, an interesting idea to push myself forward and make myself better. It has nothing to do with anything else."

Weir has come under criticism from gay commentator and former skater Mark Lund for consistently avoiding the gay question.

"I say to Mr. Weir, 'You enjoy being outspoken and a free spirit. You have said frequently that you have been brought up to speak your mind. However, you refuse to support the very community that paved the way for you," Lund said. "I say to all those that believe my comments about Mr. Weir were homophobic to take a step back and realize the beliefs you are actually expressing. Mr. Weir is an individual who enjoys all the rights of the gay community without coming out to support the gay community. Now, who is the hypocrite here? Most certainly not me."

A record 146,311 tickets have been sold for this week's skating events. (Hassan Mirza, U.K.)

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