Olympic figure skating medalist Adam Rippon has certainly not slowed down since winning a bronze medal at this year’s Olympic Games in Pyeongchang. The outgoing and hilarious Rippon is currently on a nationwide Stars on Ice tour and is about to participate in the next season of Dancing with the Stars, all while being a spokesperson for GLAAD and becoming an overnight LGBTQ icon. Rippon took some time out of his incredibly busy schedule to chat with us from Washington, D.C., where he was training for DTWS along with his dance partner Jenna Johnson.
Do you think that if you weren’t openly gay, you would have received as much attention as you did? I don’t know. I believe that being openly gay is part of who I am, and I felt it was important to share who I was because I had missed out on going to the Olympics twice before. I felt like this time it was important that I share every part of who I am and what it took for me to finally get there.
Off the ice, what was your favorite Olympic memory? Getting to stand on the podium with my friends and teammates was an absolute dream as was getting to walk in the opening ceremony. It was something I had been waiting to do my entire life. I thought about that moment over and over growing up, and it was everything I thought it would be.
How has your perspective of the Olympic games changed since you began skating professionally? As you get older, you must step outside yourself to analyze situations from the outside in. You have a greater perspective of who you are and what’s going on. I had a better idea of who I was and why I was there because I questioned it so many times before. I didn’t have a reason why before and as I got older, I realized I liked working hard and setting goals. The Olympics were a by-product of that.
Aside from your trainers, did you have a support system leading up to the Olympic games? I was lucky to make some incredible friends, some who I’ve known for at least 10 years. They’ve seen me at my highs and lows, and I felt so connected to them when I was at the Olympics because they were on that journey with me. They helped me gain perspective, and at the end of the day, they wouldn’t love me any differently if I didn’t go to the Olympics. Knowing that made the journey easier.
How do you view your new role model status? It’s still funny for me to have someone come up to me and say, ‘Thank you for being yourself.’ I don’t feel like I’ve done anything special or brave. I was just able to be myself on a major platform. I don’t treat anybody any differently now. I treat people the way I want to be treated. The most important thing is not to forget where I came from. Doing something little can really change a person’s life, so when you have the opportunity to do so, take it.