clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Openly gay Olympic skater Adam Rippon gets why it’s important to be out

New, 2 comments

Being a first carries a special weight.

2018 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships - Day 5
Adam Rippon is one of three American men’s Olympic figure skaters.
Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

American figure skater Adam Rippon this week became the first openly gay male named to a Winter Olympics team and he is embracing what being an out athlete means.

Rippon, 28, has talked openly about the bullying he faced growing up in Scranton, Pa., and how isolated and alone he felt. It’s great that he does not forget those dark times as he realizes the import of an openly gay male Olympian. “It’s our duty as athletes to be role models,” he said.

Rippon will not be the the only gay male Winter Olympian in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Pairs skater Eric Radford is expected to be named to the Canadian Olympic team next week, while American freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy is expected to be part of the U.S. team in the next two weeks.

I am highlighting male athletes in this article because we’ve never had an out male Winter Olympian, so these three would be historic. All three have spoken openly about being gay and realize what their accomplishments mean. Yet once the competition starts, they will be athletes above all else.

On a lighter note, I’m sure Rippon would get a kick out of a headline in a website called the Kaplan Herald, where English is not obviously the first language. Here is how it reported on Rippon earning an Olympic spot: “Adam Rippon Is U.S.’s First Brazenly Homosexual Man To Qualify For Winter Olympics.”