Within the last 10 years, there have been multiple LGBTQ+ athletes from the U.S., such as Jillion Potter, Kelly Griffin, Elena Delle Donne and Seimone Augustus at the Rio 2016 Olympics; Lisa Raymond and Megan Rapinoe at the London 2012 Olympics; Lauren Lappin, Vicky Galindo and Natasha Kai at the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
However, Adam Rippon will be the first LGBTQ+ male athlete to represent the US, and one of few openly gay athletes to participate in the Winter Olympics. He will be competing next month with teammates Nathan Chen and Vincent Zhou.
Despite the fact that he finished fourth-place in the U.S. figure skating championships, Rippon was selected for the U.S. figure skating team. “I’m really grateful that the selection committee looked at my body of work over the last two seasons,” Rippon said to the Washington Post. “I feel that my experience will help me have my best performances at the Olympic Games, and it feels amazing to say that.”
And in truth, Rippon does have an amazing amount of experience. He’s been skating since he was nine, and has choreographed for other acclaimed figure skaters, such as Mirai Nagasu and Christina Gao. He came in first in the 2016 U.S. Figure Skating Championship with a total score of 270.75. Although he fell on his only quad attempt, he earned marks for his triple jumps, spins, and complex footwork. In his own words: “It’s not a jump competition; it’s not a choreography competition, and it’s not a spin competition. It takes a little bit of everything.” Further, this is not Rippon’s first time at Olympics: he was the second alternate at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.
As far as his sexuality, Adam Rippon said:
“A few weeks ago, I was asked in an interview – and I tweeted about it – that they asked me, what was it like being a gay athlete in sports? And I said, it’s exactly like being a straight athlete, only with better eyebrows. . .
Because I don’t really care what other people think of me. I’m able to go out there and I’m really able to be, like, unabashedly myself. And I want somebody who’s young, who’s struggling, who’s not sure if it’s OK if they are themselves to know that it’s OK.”
Photo: Adam Rippon / Twitter