Figure Skater Rises To The Top


Rippon performs his routine at one of his first competitions, the Trophée Éric Bompard.

Jazmyne Boone, Writer

In December of 2017, figure skater Adam Rippon was named to the 2018 Olympic Team. Rippon would be participating in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics as a part of the figure skating event. Not only did he become the oldest U.S. Olympic figure skater since 1936, but he is also the very first publicly gay U.S. athlete who has qualified for the Winter Olympics. He hopes to become a role model for young people because of this.

Rippon did not have an easy road to fame. In 2012 he moved to California to have the opportunity to work with figure skating coach Rafael Arutyunyan. He left his mother and family behind, deciding to support himself, and he ended up sleeping in Arutyunyan’s basement. At times, he only had enough money to pay for his gym membership, and when he didn’t have the money for groceries he would take the complimentary apples from the gym.

Throughout his struggles, Rippon never stopped believing that he would make it to the 2018 Winter Olympics. He missed being on the 2014 Winter Olympics team, only giving him more motivation to make it the next time. In 2017, when practicing, he broke his foot and went to Colorado Springs for months to attend rehab at the Olympic training center.

In an interview with TIME, Rippon said, “I remember never losing that faith that I would be able to do it.” Once the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics came around, Rippon skated his heart out. For the men’s individual event he skated to a mix of “O” by Coldplay and “Arrival of the Birds” by The Cinematic Orchestra. He earned third place for this event, and in the team event the U.S. earned a bronze medal.

Rippon feels that the whole process of the Olympics has been a dream. He told PEOPLE that he doesn’t know what is next for him after the Winter Olympics, but he said that “I have a feeling that my life has changed forever.”