Behind the Games

Behind the Games: Adam Rippon


At 28 years old, figure skater Adam Rippon is the oldest American skater to make his Games debut in 80 years.

He’s also the first openly gay athlete to qualify for Team USA in the Winter Games.

Adam is the oldest of six siblings and the son of a single mom. He was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania (the same place the TV show The Office took place).

The athlete was born with a severe eye infection and nearly deaf. He underwent surgery at Yale before his first birthday and he can now hear almost perfectly.

Compared to other Winter Games athletes, who start training in their sport when they’re two or three, Adam got a late start. His mom would take the family ice skating in the winter, but Adam didn’t start taking lessons until he was 9.

Before long, he was making history.

By the age of 20, he was the only person who’d ever won two Junior World Figuring Skating Championships. He is still the only man to ever do this.

During the 2010 Games, he was named an alternate to Team USA. He failed to qualify all together in 2014.

Adam won the 2016 U.S. Championships. He came in sixth at the World Championships that year.

In 2018, his biggest dreams finally came true.

In 2014, during the Winter Games in Sochi, Adam says he was sitting on his roof eating In-And-Out, upset he wasn’t competing. It’s a moment he recalled to reporters after coming off the Winter Games ice in PyeongChang.

When it comes to the Games, however, Adam has his eyes set on more than just gold. After coming out as gay in 2015, Adam says he strives to be a role model for kids just like him.

As far as being a gay athlete goes, Adam says it’s just like being a straight athlete. It’s a lot of work, just with better eyebrows.

-Ashley Sturm

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