Adam Rippon has starred on the world's biggest sporting stage as an openly gay athlete. The 2018 Olympic bronze-medalist figure skater also understood the responsibility he carried.
“I got so much more joy out of competing as my authentic self," Rippon said during the Yahoo! special event "Pride Evolution." "When you’re going and you’re representing your country, if you can’t represent yourself to the best of your ability then you’re not representing your country to the best of your ability.”
Rippon, who won the 2016 U.S. National Figure Skating Championships, discussed the challenges he faced in the sports world as an openly gay figure skater. Commenting on how preconceived notions that male figure skaters are inherently gay, he said he felt resistance from the figure-skating community for not being more masculine.
“I was always told to kind of 'butch it up' and 'don’t skate like a girl,' whatever that means," Rippon said. "Because good skating is good skating, being a good athlete is being a good athlete.”
After his show-stopping performance at the Olympics, Rippon was included in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2018. He still continues to serve as an example to gay athletes competing at the highest level.
Rippon participated on the Pride Evolution panel with Jazz Jennings, alongside their mothers. They discussed raising children in the LGBTQ+ community.
"The best advice, if I was going to be bold enough to give advice, is to say nothing, to listen," said Kelly Rippon, mother of six children and the author of "Parent Up." "Listen more than speak. It’s difficult for your child to share personal intimate details of elements of their being that they haven’t shared publicly yet and they’re trusting you.”
Adam Rippon expounded on the lessons he learned from his mother and how it shaped his attitude toward life.
“As I got older I realized that to give something 100% you have to give all of yourself and sometimes that means sharing all of yourself with whatever you’re doing and whomever you’re working with," he said. "It’s been such an important lesson and something I bring with me, whether it’s in the sports world or not. I really give 100% of myself and try to use my voice whenever I have the opportunity to."
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