Johnny Weir explains why he waited to publicly come out as gay

Two-time Olympian Johnny Weir is “thrilled” to see LGBTQ athletes taking the spotlight at the 2018 Winter Games, but he’s also had to face questions about why he did not publicly address his sexuality during his competitive days.

Weir, 33, endured media scrutiny over his private life during the 2006 and 2010 Winter Games in Turin, Italy, and Vancouver, Canada, respectively. His energetic routine to Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” at the 2010 U.S. Nationals prompted further speculation. 

19 PHOTOS
Johnny Weir through the years
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Johnny Weir through the years
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 01: Johnny Weir skates during the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park?s Annual Tree Lighting Skate-tacular on December 1, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
Johnny Weir of the U.S. performs his free skating programme during the Figure skating Grand Prix of Russia in Moscow, November 27, 2004. REUTERS/Dima Korotayev DK/CVI/WS
The 2004 US national champion Johnny Weir, performs during the free men's event at Paris' ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating, November 20 2004.
Johnny Weir of the U.S. performs his short program during the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating-Cup of Russia in St. Petersburg November 25, 2005. REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk
Figure skater Johnny Weir of the U.S. skates during a practice session at the Palavela figure skating venue ahead of the Torino 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy, February 9, 2006. The 2006 Winter Olympics begin on February 10. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Johnny Weir of the U.S. greets the audience after his free program during the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating-Cup of Russia in Moscow, November 25, 2006. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor (RUSSIA)
Three-time National Champion Johnny Weir answers a reporter's question about a previous injury during a news conference at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Spokane, Washington January 24, 2007. REUTERS/Richard Clement (UNITED STATES)
Bronze medal winner Johnny Weir, the former National Champion, looks at his medal as he stands on the winners podium for the men's competition at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Spokane, Washington January 27, 2007. REUTERS/Richard Clement (UNITED STATES)
Johnny Weir of the U.S. performs his free programme at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Cup of Russia in Moscow November 24, 2007. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor (RUSSIA)
Johnny Weir of the United States performs during the gala exhibition for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Goyang near Seoul December 14, 2008. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won (SOUTH KOREA)
Feb 10, 2010 - Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada - Figure skater JOHNNY WEIR of the United States Olympic Team poses for their USOC team portrait. (Credit Image: � USOC/ZUMA Press) Picture Supplied by Action Images PLEASE NOTE: FOR EDITORIAL SALES ONLY. CONTRACT CLIENTS: ADDITIONAL FEES MAY APPLY - PLEASE CONTACT YOUR ACCOUNT MANAGER
Johnny Weir of the U.S. waves after his routine in the men's figure skating short programme at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics February 16, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (CANADA)
Johnny Weir of the U.S. (L-R), Brian Joubert of France and Michal Brezina of Czech Republic show their medals during an awarding ceremony after the Men's Free Program competition at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating NHK Trophy in Nagano, central Japan November 7, 2009. Joubert won the event, with Weir and Michal in second and third respectively. REUTERS/Issei Kato (JAPAN SPORT FIGURE SKATING)
Johnny Weir of the U.S performs during the men's free skating event of the Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Tokyo December 5, 2009. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon (JAPAN SPORT FIGURE SKATING)
Johnny Weir of the U.S. leaves the rink after his routine in the men's figure skating short programme at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics February 16, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (CANADA)
Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir arrives at the 25th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards in Los Angeles, March 5, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT ENTERTAINMENT FIGURE SKATING)
Ice skater Johnny Weir arrives at the 23rd annual Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Awards in New York March 24, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SPORT FIGURE SKATING PROFILE)
Former figure skater and commentator Johnny Weir poses on arrival at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California March 2, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES TAGS: ENTERTAINMENT) (OSCARS-ARRIVALS)
Figure skaters Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir arrive for the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington April 25, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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Though Weir has become an LGBTQ rights advocate in recent years, many fans are surprised to learn that he didn’t confirm he was gay until the release of his 2011 memoirWelcome to My World

On Thursday, Weir explained on Twitter why he did not publicly come out “in the traditional sense” until a year after participating in the Winter Olympics for the second time.  

He continued: 

Weir’s remarks come nearly two weeks after figure skater Adam Rippon was named the first openly gay U.S. man to qualify for the Winter Olympics. 

The 28-year-old, who hails from Pennsylvania, soon may not be the only American athlete heading to the 2018 Winter Games who identifies as queer. Freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy, who came out as gay in a 2015 ESPN interview, is expected to find out later this month whether he qualifies for the U.S. ski team. 

As for Weir, he’s bound for Pyeongchang, South Korea, next month alongside fellow Olympian Tara Lipinski, where the pair will provide commentary for NBC’s primetime figure skating coverage. 

16 PHOTOS
Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski
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Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski
PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 27: Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir of NBC at Super Bowl XLIX Media Day Fueled by Gatorade inside U.S. Airways Center on January 27, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 27: Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski of NBC at Super Bowl XLIX Media Day Fueled by Gatorade inside U.S. Airways Center on January 27, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 27: Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski of NBC at Super Bowl XLIX Media Day Fueled by Gatorade inside U.S. Airways Center on January 27, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 03: Figure skaters Tara Lipinski (L) and Johnny Weir toast with Moet & Chandon at the 140th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 3, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for Moet & Chandon)
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 03: Figure Skaters Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski toast with Moet & Chandon at the 140th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 3, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for Moet & Chandon)
LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS -- Episode 0010 -- Pictured: (l-r) Olympic figure skaters Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir on March 7, 2014 -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 02: Figure skaters Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir arrive at the 86th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
THE OSCARS(r) - RED CARPET ARRIVALS - The Academy Awards(r) for outstanding film achievements of 2013 will be presented on Oscar Sunday, MARCH 2 (8:00-11:00 p.m., ET/5:00-8:00 p.m., PT), at the Dolby Theatre(r) at Hollywood & Highland Center(r) and televised live on the ABC Television Network. (Rick Rowell/ABC via Getty Images) JOHNNY WEIR, TARA LIPINSKI
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 03: Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski toast with Moet & Chandon at the 140th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 3, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for Moet & Chandon)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 02: TV personalities Johnny Weir (L) and Tara Lipinski attend the Oscars held at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 02: TV personalities Johnny Weir (L) and Tara Lipinski attend the Oscars held at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 14: Figure skating champions Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski comment for NBC the Figure Skating Men's Free Skating on day seven of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Iceberg Skating Palace on February 14, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by John Berry/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 14: Figure skating champions Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski comment for NBC the Figure Skating Men's Free Skating on day seven of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Iceberg Skating Palace on February 14, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by John Berry/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 19: (BROADCAST-OUT) (L-R) David Wise,Johnny Weir, Tara Lipinski and Alex Deibold pose in the Olympic Park during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on February 19, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 14: Figure skating champions Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski comment for NBC the Figure Skating Men's Free Skating on day seven of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Iceberg Skating Palace on February 14, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by John Berry/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 27: Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots walks with Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski of NBC at Super Bowl XLIX Media Day Fueled by Gatorade inside U.S. Airways Center on January 27, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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