Olympic Skater Adam Rippon Brings Sauciness and Advice to the U

Don’t let his age fool you

By: Megan Hoff

 

 Illustration by: Megan Smith

Illustration by: Megan Smith

Adam Rippon doesn’t let anything stand in his way, being the oldest (and proudest) male figure skater to make the United States Olympic team since 1936. The vivacious skater and self-described “normal disaster” came to the University of Minnesota’s student union on Nov. 3 to speak about his experiences on campus.

 

Self-deprecating yet confident, Rippon kept the witty quips rolling throughout the talk. When asked whether he played any other sports before skating, he said that he used to play soccer. He played until he got hit in the face with a ball and then decided, “Fuck soccer.” Once he found skating, the ice felt like home, even though he was teased for pursuing the sport.

 

Along with being one of the oldest Olympic skaters, Rippon was the first openly gay person to represent the United States at the Olympic games. He explained that his experience wasn’t different from any other athlete: “Being gay isn’t anything special. It’s just… something.” He said that it felt like a fun fact about him rather than a defining characteristic, and he has been very lucky in having supportive family and friends. The only issue he encountered at the Olympics was the 5:30 a.m. practice schedule, which Rippon joked was “homophobic.”

 

The main message of Rippon’s talk was the importance of sharing stories. He claims this is crucial in not only helping people feel comfortable with themselves but also stopping the fear and hatred that stems from ignorance. Rippon has had to deal with this issue on many levels, from strangers to the White House: “Nothing like being a U.S. athlete and getting heckled by the president’s family… you should try it sometime.” Even though he recognizes that he has haters, he feels sorry for them more than anything else. As someone who “has nothing to lose,” Rippon is never going to let negativity stop him from being himself.


Wake Mag