NIIGATA, Japan -- U.S. figure skater Johnny Weir is skipping the 2010-11 season.
A three-time U.S. champion (2004-06) and two-time Olympian, Weir is known as much for his outlandish costumes and frank comments as his short and long programs.
"My decision comes after months of weighing the pros and cons of competing this season, and I have decided that I need a year to explore and reinvent myself as an athlete and artist," the 26-year-old Weir said Thursday. "There are many projects that I'm currently working on and that I want to devote my time to."
Weir will concentrate on careers in fashion and singing, and has a memoir that will soon be published. He's also a reality TV star and plans to produce skating shows.
Quite a busy itinerary.
Weir, who trained in New Jersey with coach Galina Zmievskaya and also worked with 1992 Olympic champion Victor Petrenko, was assigned to Skate Canada and Trophee Bompard next season.
"The main reason for my decision is to have more time to reinvent my skating," Weir said. "I want to create a new skating image for myself so that when I return to competitive skating, I can perform in a way that is both unique and inspiring. I say all of this in hopes that I will return as a competitor for the 2011-2012 season.
"I have been competing at the highest level of the sport since 2000. Training and competing have been my only way of life for the past 13 years. While it has been a magical journey, I feel that a brief hiatus will be truly beneficial to my skating and my future."
Weir was fifth at the Turin Olympics in 2006 and sixth at this year's Vancouver Games. He was the bronze medalist at the 2008 world championships.