Despite finishing in fourth place on Saturday at the U.S. figure skating championships, 28 year old Adam Rippon was still permitted to go to the Winter Olympics because of his stellar performance in international competitions.
“I’m really grateful that the selection committee looked at my body of work over the last two seasons,” Rippon told reporters on Sunday, according to The Washington Post. “I feel that my experience will help me have my best performances at the Olympic Games, and it feels amazing to say that.”
He will go to the Olympics this year in Pyeongchang, South Korea, along with Nathan Chen and Vincent Zhou, which is a great accomplishment. But news outlets are making a big deal about the fact that Rippon is “openly gay”.
Earlier this month, the skater joked that being a gay athlete is “like being a straight athlete, only with better eyebrows,” according to NPR.
“Growing up, I really didn’t have a lot of role models. And I said, if I was ever given the chance and the platform, I would share my story,” said Rippon during an interview. “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, like, unabashedly myself. 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.”