Adam Rippon just won’t stop being Adam Rippon.
The Olympic figure skater who deemed himself “America’s Sweetheart” in Pyeongchang continues to prove himself right, the latest being a victory in the final competition of ‘Dancing With The Stars,’ along with dancing partner Jenna Johnson. The duo beat out NFL player Josh Norman and former figure skater Tonya Harding for the crown.
What was most remarkable about Rippon’s entire run on DWTS — in which he asserted himself as a frontrunner from the first week — was how he never let go of who he was. Even in the last episode, we saw him with a “Part Classy Part Trashy” T-shirt, something that a lot of athletes would be afraid to wear when they’re trying to get America’s vote.
Not Rippon. He boldly went where few athletes have gone before, proudly himself and seemingly not willing to compromise that at any point.
After a lovely jazz performance that brought the crowd to its feet last night, Rippon and Johnson performed a contemporary dance routine to “Scooby Doo Pa Pa” that I was afraid might be lost on American TV viewers and some of the judges.
It was something to behold.
Rippon was wearing a bowl-cut wig and dancing with a fan. It literally left Carrie Ann Inaba speechless for a moment. There was reason for concern.
No doubt Rippon and Johnson had some concerns about all of that too.
They did it anyway, and I haven’t been able to get “Scooby Doo Pa Pa” out of my head all day.
When I interviewed him for Out magazine a couple months ago, I talked with Rippon about the differences between courage and fearlessness, and his seeming ability to embrace the latter. Courage reflects the presence of fear, and Rippon seems to not know the definition of the word.
He rejected that a bit.
“I think it takes courage to have fearlessness,” he said. “The first step is always the hardest. When you take that first step you feel that incredible power that comes with it, and when you feel that power it’s addicting. You feel what it feels like to have courage, what it feels like to be brave, and that’s how you become fearless.”
Whatever you want to call it, Rippon has it. If you were following his career before the Olympics, you know he’s had it for a long time. Who can forget the time he had blue hair?
Rippon’s sense of style, his feel for entertainment and his courage to blend all of that with his true personality is infectious. He’s a special athlete the likes of which only come along on rare occasions, and I hope we get to see a lot more of him — on and off the ice or the dance floor — in the coming years.