"My claws are out," Weir tells PEOPLE after Lysacek questioned his skating skills

Credit: Rex, Donna Ward/PR Photos

When skating rivals Evan Lysacek and Johnny Weir were battling for a spot on the Olympic podium at the Vancouver Winter Games in February, Weir remarked that showdown would be a great “catfight.”

The dust-up intensified this week off the ice as Olympic gold medalist Lysacek, competing on Dancing with the Stars, and Weir, a three-time U.S. Champion, traded slurs and barbs.

“We are at war,” Weir told PEOPLE on Thursday. “My claws are out.”

PHOTOS: Johnny Weir: Drama on Ice!
The latest round of mudslinging began when Lysacek suggested earlier this week that a lack of talent kept Weir off the cast of the traveling Smucker’s Stars on Ice. “They only hire the best of the best to skate,” Lysacek told the Indianapolis Star. “A lot of us in the skating world were really disappointed in the way he reacted, basically whining that he wasn’t chosen.”

Harsh Words Exchanged

The flamboyant Weir claims the show didn’t hire him because he didn’t fit the tour’s “family-friendly” profile – a charge Stars on Ice denies. Weir also went on the attack against Lysacek, calling him a “slore” – an apparent combination of “slut” and “whore” – on the The Wendy Williams Show on Wednesday.

Then on Thursday in New York, where he announced their “war,” Weir added, “I’ve never whined. I wasn’t the one who falls dancing and gets a concussion and breaks toes and has hip replacement surgeries. If anyone whines, it’s definitely Evan. He’s done that his whole career, and I’ve never said anything about it just because there was no need.”

Weir, who is opening the season for Ice Theatre of New York at Chelsea Piers, added, “I have no respect for Evan Lysacek.” He is encouraging fans not to vote for his rival on Dancing with the Stars.

But there may a truce on the horizon. In a statement to PEOPLE, Lysacek says he wants to end the feud, even though Weir had said hurtful things. Extending an olive branch, he’s calling Weir “an accomplished and talented skater” and wishing him well at his New York show.

“I let my personal feelings cloud my judgment in how I answered a journalist’s question about Stars on Ice and Johnny that I should never have answered,” says Lysacek. “I should have known better.”

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