Adam Rippon Proves He's One to Watch off the Ice and on in Olympic Debut

After a whole lotta talk on social media, the ice skater proves he's got what it takes to be an Olympian

By Meg Swertlow Feb 12, 2018 5:16 AMTags
Adam Rippon, 2018 Winter OlympicsDean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Slay, Adam, slay!

After making headlines off the ice for his big personality (including an tiff with Vice President Mike Pence), American figure skater Adam Rippon made sure to bring it where it counts—on the ice for his official Olympic debut in figure skating's team event on Sunday night.

NBC commenter Johnny Weir referred to the skate, that left fans in a tizzy, as "spellbinding."

The openly gay ice skater has made a lot of headlines for his outspoken ways and his social media presence ahead of the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. But the skater, dressed in a glittering ensemble, made sure to get away from the buzz around him while on the ice and bring the heat for the judges and the world to see.

Adam finished in third-place behind Mikhail Kolyada, the Olympic athlete from Russia.

His routine, as well as his teammate and friend Mirai Nagasu's skate (which included a history-making triple axel), helped team USA earn bronze on Sunday. Canada won gold and Olympic Athletes from Russia earned silver.


Many online were quick to praise Rippon for his artistic performance.

But it's his interviews after the competition and his social media comments before his skate that's also got him making fans.

"I’m so proud to be on this team," Rippon said on the NBC broadcast. "I went out there and I did my job.”

When asked how he feels when he hit the ice at the Olympics, Adam joked to NBC, "I want to throw up, I want to go over to the judges and say 'can I just have a Xanax and a quick drink?'"

The 28-year-old also said, "This might be my first Olympics, but it's not my first rodeo!"

Adam has been giving his own flourish on the Games, since landing in South Korea.

On Saturday, he tweeted, "I've been bleaching my teeth for the past few days and now the wind that I create from just talking makes them hurt. Like, I think this is a sign that I'm officially ready for my Olympic debut."

Looks like he was ready!

The same day, the Olympian also has some laughing when he posted a social media video about how "disappointing" the legendary condoms at the Olympic village were.

"I am not entirely sure what I was expecting. I thought maybe they'd have Olympic rings on them? I'm not like, upset—but I'm like—disappointed. But ya know? That's all right. Sometimes life isn't always what it seems."

Of course, it's possible that Vice President Pence wasn't laughing. 

Earlier this week, reports had surfaced that the Olympic figure skater had turned down a meeting with him.

Tension began in January when Rippon, an openly gay Olympic athlete, was asked by USA Todayhow he felt about Pence leading the U.S. delegation to the 2018 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony in Pyeongchang, South Korea on February 9.

"You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy? I'm not buying it," Rippon replied.

And in response to Rippon's statement, Pence's press secretary told the publication, "The vice president is proud to lead the U.S. delegation to the Olympics and support America's incredible athletes. This accusation is totally false and has no basis in fact. Despite these misinformed claims, the vice president will be enthusiastically supporting all the U.S. athletes competing next month in Pyeongchang."

The outspoken skater told reporters after a practice session Thursday (via Reuters), "I don't want to distract from the competition or make this too much for my competitors and my teammates." He then added, "After the competition I‘m open to meeting him and having an open conversation, but opening ceremonies are tomorrow and I've been really focused."

During his talk with USA Today last month, Rippon said, "I'm not trying to pick a fight with the vice president of the United States." And he also stated then that he might consider meeting with Pence after the Olympics.

"If I had the chance to meet him [Pence] afterwards, after I'm finished competing, there might be a possibility to have an open conversation," he told the publication.

Amid reports that Adam had turned down a meeting with Pence, the vice president's chief of staff and communications director issued a statement, denying the claims.