May 21, 2012

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) -- Johnny Weir is beginning his comeback for the Sochi Olympics in Russia.

Weir, who hasn't competed since finishing sixth at the Vancouver Olympics, drew the Rostelecom Cup in Moscow and Trophee Bompard in Paris when Grand Prix assignments were announced Monday. Two-time world champion Miki Ando, who skipped last season, also was assigned to two Grand Prix events, drawing Cup of China and Trophee Bompard.

"So excited for my Grand Prix Assignments this November," Weir said on Twitter. "Thank you ISU and (U.S. Figure Skating) for this chance."

The three-time U.S. champion announced in January he was returning to competition after a two-year hiatus, saying he hoped to earn a spot on a third Olympic team for the Sochi Games in 2014. Weir, who turns 28 on July 2, was already working on quadruple jumps this spring.

Weir's return could be a big boost for the Americans, who have faltered without him and Olympic champion Evan Lysacek. The U.S. men are down to just two spots at the world championships after having three from 2005 to 2011, and no one has finished higher than fifth the past three years.

Weir finished fifth at his first Olympics, the 2006 Games in Turin, and was the bronze medalist at the 2008 world championships.

Lysacek also has talked about making a comeback for Sochi, but was not assigned to any Grand Prixs. Neither was Turin gold medalist Evgeni Plushenko, who returned to competition last season and won his seventh European title. However, there are open spots for a U.S. man at Skate America and a Russian man at Rostelecom Cup.

The Grand Prix circuit begins with Skate America, Oct. 19-21 in Kent, Wash. The other stops are: Skate Canada, Oct. 26-28 in Windsor, Ontario; Cup of China, Nov. 2-4 in Shanghai; Rostelecom Cup, Nov. 9-11 in Moscow; Trophee Bompard, Nov. 16-18 in Paris; and NHK Trophy, Nov. 23-25 in Miyagi, Japan. The Grand Prix final is Dec. 6-9 in Sochi, and also serves as the Olympic test event.

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