Rippon, 28, will become the first openly gay American male skater to compete in the Olympics. He will be joined as an openly gay athlete on the ice by Canadian pairs skater Eric Radford. U.S. freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy is also expected to make the U.S. team, giving us three openly gay male Winter Olympians. There had previously never been an out gay male Winter Olympian; skater Johnny Weir never really hid his orientation but also never publicly declared it until after he retired.
Rippon is also, according to our research, the first publicly out gay man ever selected to a Winter Olympics team from any country in any sport.
“A few weeks ago I was asked in an interview, ‘What is it like being a gay athlete in sports?’ I said it’s exactly like being a straight athlete except with better eyebrows,” Rippon said.
“I think sharing my story has made me a better competitor 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 unabashedly myself. And I love myself,” he said. “When I’m able to go out there and just really be me, I’m able to put my hard work forward 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 that there are so many people out there who have the same worries. … If you set your mind to something, you can truly do anything.”
I was recently asked in an interview what its like to be a gay athlete in sports. I said that it’s exactly like being a straight athlete. Lots of hard work but usually done with better eye brows.
— Adam Rippon (@Adaripp) December 28, 2017