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.
LBGTQ ppl are still targeted in hate crimes, sent to concentration camps, are asked about their “lifestyle”, and questioned about the bathroom they use. So, until that stops, it’s important to be “out” and visible.— Adam Rippon (@Adaripp) January 10, 2018
While you may not be SHOCKED that I am gay (surprise ♂️), I hope it helps a young girl or boy who doesn’t feel like they belong (like I once did) and lets them know it’s awesome to be yourself. You can do ANYTHING if you work hard.— Adam Rippon (@Adaripp) January 10, 2018
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.”