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Skater Adam Rippon knew he was gay when he first kissed a guy

U.S. Olympic hopeful says being out has made him a better skater.

Team USA PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics Portraits
Adam Rippon has his sights set on the 2018 Olympics.
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Adam Rippon, a U.S. figure skating champion and 2018 OIympic hopeful, recalls how he knew for certain he was gay.

“The first time I kissed a boy, I’m like, ‘I definitely am gay,’ ” Rippon told Team USA in a profile geared towards Pride Month.

Rippon won the 2016 U.S. Figure Skating title a few months after coming out and finally being himself and being accepted played a big part in his success, he said.

“When I came out was when I was able to breathe,” Rippon said. “When everyone knew, I didn’t feel like I was hiding anything. I didn’t feel like I was putting on a show. I was being me and it was easy. It was a lot easier to be me than to be who I thought I was supposed to be.” ...

“I went out and I felt like I was performing as myself and not a character. That’s really what helped push me to win my first national title.”

An injury derailed Rippon early in 2017 but he is recovering and is focused on making the 2018 Olympic team. And he will do it as an out gay elite athlete.