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America’s Sweetheart, Adam Rippon

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America’s Sweetheart, Adam Rippon

Evan Hecht, Staff Writer

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As the 2018 Winter Olympics come to an end, a new era of Olympians emerges. You have the lovable Chloe Kim, famous for her Twitter rant on not finishing her egg sandwich, and Red Gerard, now known for oversleeping and taking his roommate’s coat to just barely make it to his event on time. But the athlete who really stole America’s heart is figure skater Adam Rippon.

Rippon first made headlines after it became known that he was the first openly gay Olympian. After making Olympic history, Rippon caught the country’s eye when he decided he would not being meeting with Vice President Pence, due to Pence’s previous homophobic comments. When invited again, he declined the meeting once more. While many applauded him for his actions, others viewed it as disrespectful. Vice President Pence responded to Rippon’s decision by tweeting out “@Adaripp I want you to know we are FOR YOU. Don’t let fake news distract you. I am proud of you and ALL OF OUR GREAT athletes and my only hope for you and all of #TeamUSA is to bring home the gold. Go get ‘em!” Rippon has yet to meet with Vice President Pence. Following up on these comments, Rippon told People, “If I had the chance to meet him afterwards, after I’m finished competing, there might be a possibility to have an open conversation.” When asked about Pence throughout the Olympics, Rippon said, “I don’t want my Olympic experience to be about Mike Pence. You know, I want it to be about my amazing skating and being America’s sweetheart.”

Along with Rippon’s political engagement, he continued to follow critique and commentary due to his sexuality. News organizations took this and went wild with headlines and interview questions, the majority of them relating to his sexuality as opposed to the actual games. Rippon was asked multiple times what it is like being a gay athlete. Rippon tweeted out, “I was recently asked in an interview what it’s 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 eyebrows.” Rippon’s tweet amassed over 23 thousand retweets along with 150 thousand favorites.

Along with Rippon receiving adoration, he has also faced some hostility. He has gotten many homophobic comments. Although Rippon received bronze in figure skating, homophobic Olympic viewers devalued his accomplishments. Rippon was told to fall and fail. Rippon took to Twitter to say, “I have failed many times in my life. But more importantly, I’ve learned from every setback, proudly own up to my mistakes, grown from disappointments, and now I’m a glamazon b*tch ready for the runway.”

Rippon was able to secure a bronze medal in Pyeongchang, but his true victory was stealing the hearts of Americans across the country.

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About the Writer
Evan Hecht, Editor-in-Chief

Evan Hecht ('19), Editor-in-Chief alongside Nicole Shaker, has a passion for journalism. He is excited to continue the legacy of his sister, a former...

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America’s Sweetheart, Adam Rippon