Photo via Adam Rippon Instagram
U.S. silver medalist Adam Rippon discussed being gay in this month's issue of Skating magazine, U.S. Figure Skating's official magazine, stating:
"It's the year 2015. So many more athletes are willing to be open, and it's part of the culture now to be more open about who you are and what your interests are. Of course people are interested in your sexual orientation. People love rumors. When athletes come out and say that they're gay, it makes it a little more normal and less of a big deal -- especially in the athletic community. You have a lot of respect for your fellow athletes for working hard toward a goal. Their sexual orientation takes a backseat to that."
Figure skating Olympic gold medal winner Brian Boitano came out publicly in 2014 after President Obama selected him as part of the U.S. delegation to the Sochi Olympics, and Rippon said he'd also considered coming out before the Sochi (which he didn't end up qualifying for).
"Being gay is not something that defines me. What defines me is what my mom always taught me: to treat everyone with respect, to always be a hard worker and to be kind. Those are the things that define me.
"I did think about it. I feel so overwhelmed that U.S. Figure Skating wants to be a part of me. It's a huge thing to have your sport's governing body be a part of that and to show all their athletes that they accept them for who they are and for their individual personalities. When you go out and compete, you want to represent [the organization] to the best of your ability, and you want to represent your true, authentic self. When you're honest with yourself, you can do that. I want to be a relatable example.
Rippon skated in three World Championships, but he's never skated in the Olympics -- he was eighth at the January 2014 U.S. Championships, missing the two-man 2014 U.S. Olympic team. Rippon is scheduled to open his season at Finlandia Trophy in Finland next week, and he's entered in Skate Canada on Halloween weekend. He says he wants to be a "relatable example" for other athletes and LGBT people, adding:
"I want to say something to the dad out there who might be concerned that his son is a figure skater. I mean look at me; I'm just a normal son from small-town Pennsylvania. Nothing changed. I'd just like to be a good role model. I've been honest with myself the whole time. I worked hard and loved what I did."
He appears on the cover with Ashley Wagner.