Adam Rippon may not have succeeded in getting Vice President Pence removed as the head of the U.S. Olympic delegation, however, the considerable publicity the figure skater generated while bashing the VP seems and being among the first two openly gay Olympians in U.S. Winter Olympics history, has landed him a spot at NBC.
NBC sent this announcement tweet from their official Olympics account:
Welcome to the team @Adaripp!
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 18, 2018
With a personality as sparkling as his costumes, Rippon is one of PyeongChang’s breakout stars for both his skating and his story. Rippon is one of Team USA’s first two openly gay athletes, along with slopestyle skier Gus Kenworthy (now his new best friend). When asked in December what it’s like to be a gay athlete, the Pennsylvanian answered, “It’s exactly like being a straight athlete. Lots of hard work but usually done with better eyebrows.”
Already a bronze medalist in the team figure skating event, the 28-year-old said that even after his 10th place finish in the men’s individual event, he still feels like a winner. Rippon was an alternate for the 2010 Vancouver Games and didn’t make the 2014 Sochi team (instead, he ate In-N-Out Burger with fellow 2018 teammate Mirai Nagasu). His Olympic debut was a long time coming (and the internet freaked out when it finally happened).
With luck, Rippon’s 2016 quote of ‘I’m like a witch and you can’t kill me. I keep coming back every year, and every year, I get better,’ will ring true, and the U.S. will have years of Rippon to come, whether it be on the ice or behind the mic.
Rippon has said he will not visit the White House after the Olympics. Instead, the skater says that he would rather do something to “help my community.”
Rippon immediately began his one-sided feud with Vice President Pence, after it was announced that the VP would lead the U.S. delegation to the the Winter Olympics.
Rippon accused the VP of advocating for the funding of gay conversion therapy, based on a vague reference on Pence’s website, which did not specifically mention conversion therapy.
While there’s some dispute over the reasoning, Rippon then declined to meet with Pence when the VP offered to sit down and discuss the issue. Rippon and fellow gay athlete Gus Kenworthy then posted a picture of them both in their Team USA gar, with a caption that read: “Eat your heart out, Pence:”
Perhaps sensing how boring it can sometimes be to argue with one’s self, since Pence had not responded to any of Rippon and Kenworthy’s attacks, Rippon told reporters he did not want Pence becoming the story of his Olympics.
“I have no problem talking about what I’ve said because I stand by it, but I think right now the Olympics are about Olympic competition and the athletes involved. I don’t want it to distract from them, and I don’t want my Olympic experience to be about Mike Pence. I want it to be about my amazing skating and being America’s sweetheart.”