News Brief: Gay Figure Skater Makes Olympic History

by Aaron Shepard
in News
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News Brief Gay Figure Skater Makes Olympic History

News Brief Gay Figure Skater Makes Olympic History

News Brief:  Gay Figure Skater Makes Olympic History

Out gay American figure skater, Adam Rippon has become the first openly gay man to qualify for the Olympics.  On Sunday, January 6th Rippon was named as one of three male figure skaters that will represent the US in Pyeongchang, South Korea at the 23rd Olympic Winter Games.

In addition to being the first out gay man to compete for the US in the Winter Olympics, he is also the oldest American figure skater to since 1936.

Rippon told reporters the week prior, “I think in this day and age, it’s so important for you to be proud of who you are.  I can’t believe I am where I am today.  I was just a little gay kid in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania.  Growing up I didn’t have a lot of role models.  I said if I was ever given a platform and had a chance I would share my story.”

Rippon’s Olympic dream almost did not happen, though.  After the first night, he was in second place at the US Figure Skating Championships, but on day two he dropped to fourth place after falling in an opening quad jump in his free skate.  The committee, who selected Rippon, took more than just placement in to consideration, though.  After looking at their track records, the committee chose Rippon over Ross Miner, who placed second.

“I’m really grateful that the selection committee looked at my body of work over the last two seasons,” Rippon said of his selection.  “…I feel that my experience will help me have my best performances at the Olympic games, and it feels amazing to say that.”

The champion spoke about his sexuality in Skating magazine, in which he tackled head-on the stereotypes of the sport.

He said, “Being gay is not something that defines me.  What defines me is what my mom always taught me:  to treat everyone with respect, to always be a hard worker and to be kind.”

“It’s the year 2015.  So many more athletes are willing to be open, and it’s part of the culture now to be more open about who you are and what your interests are.  Of course people are interested in your sexual orientation.  People love rumors.  When athletes come out and say that they’re gay, it makes it a little more normal and less of a big deal, especially in the athletic community.  You have a lot of respect for your fellow athletes for working hard toward a goal.  Their sexual orientation takes a backseat to that.”