'America's sweetheart' Rippon has his Olympic moment
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[February 17, 2018]
By Peter Rutherford
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) - If
Pyeongchang proves to be Adam Rippon's figure skating swan song then
"America's sweetheart" will look back on the Winter Games without an
ounce of regret.
The feisty 28-year-old, who came out as gay in 2015, has enthralled
on the ice and entertained off it, his straight-talking style and
devilish sense of humor going down a treat with fans and the media
After landing a bronze as part of the team competition earlier in
the week, Rippon placed 10th in the men's singles competition on
Saturday and said he would take some time to decide whether he will
hang up his skates.
"I think at first I need a five-minute break and a really stiff
drink and then maybe, like a day or two off the ice, at least to dry
out my costumes, and then we'll see," he said.
Rippon stoked controversy ahead of the Games by criticizing the
choice of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence as the ceremonial head of
the American delegation to the Winter Olympics. Rippon has been
critical of Pence's track record on lesbian, gay, bisexual and
While the skater has been keen to focus on the competition at
Pyeongchang, saying he did not want the issue to become a
distraction for his team mates at the Games, he has also refused to
retreat into his shell.
"I came here and I wanted to show the world who I was on and off the
ice. I wanted to go out there and show that I am a serious athlete,"
"But at the same time, have fun and show everybody, who I am. And I
think that people have kind of enjoyed my honesty and my openness."
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Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men Single free skating
competition final - Gangneung, South Korea - February 17, 2018 -
Adam Rippon of the U.S. in action. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
A social media darling, Rippon's performance on Saturday prompted an
outpouring of praise on Twitter from fellow athletes and
celebrities. He said his huge popularity stemmed from the fact that
there was no hidden side to him.
"I try my best to keep it real and in my interviews, I try my best
to be myself and when I am out there on the ice, I am just showing
another part to myself," he added.
"That's exactly who I am, I have been completely honest with this
whole Olympic experience. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
"And I wanted to be open and honest about it and fun with the media,
it's a whole part of it that I wanted to enjoy and I enjoyed every
single second... I am America's sweetheart."
(Reporting by Peter Rutherford; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)
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