After agreeing to be a correspondent for NBC for the remainder of the PyeongChang Games, breakout star of the Olympics Adam Rippon changed his mind and declined the offer, USA Today reports. Rippon, an openly gay figure skater, turned down the offer after he realized he would need to give up his official Olympic standing, move out of the Olympic village, and not march in the closing ceremony.
“I am so flattered that NBC wanted me to work as a correspondent, but if I took this opportunity, I would have to leave the Olympic team and I would have to leave the (Olympic) Village,” Rippon said on NBCSN. “It’s so important to me, you know, I worked so hard to be on this Olympic team, and my teammates and my friends were there for me during my events, and that meant so much to me, that I really feel like I need to be there for them during their events.”
The 28-year-old fan favorite was supposed to work for the network across its platforms on television, digital and social media, the newspaper said.
Rippon, who has become well known for his bold personality and fun, outspoken commentary during interviews, helped the U.S. bring home a bronze medal in the team skating competition.
I was recently asked in an interview what its like to be a gay athlete in sports. I said that it’s exactly like being a straight athlete. Lots of hard work but usually done with better eye brows.— Adam Rippon (@Adaripp) December 28, 2017
He is one of a handful of U.S. athletes who has said he will not attend the post-Olympics celebration at The White House hosted by President Donald Trump, according to USA Today.
The Scranton, Pa. native also gained national attention for his comments to USA Today denouncing Vice President Mike Pence’s stance on gay rights.
“You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy?” Rippon said to the paper, upon learning that Pence would be leading the U.S Olympics delegation in South Korea. “I’m not buying it.”
But most of the attention lavished on the skating star has been adoration and support from fans and celebrities alike, with Rippon even engaging in Twitter conversations with stars like Britney Spears and Reese Witherspoon, who are delighted with his no-holds barred social media personality.
I could feel you on the ice with me @britneyspears. I now have an OVERWHELMING desire to post Instagram fashion shows, google stock imagines of corn, and paint on the balcony of my dorm in the Olympic village. Thank you for not being in denial, LOVE YOU ?????? https://t.co/CfeyGNecM3— Adam Rippon (@Adaripp) February 18, 2018
WHEN YOURE RIGHT, YOURE RIGHT, @RWitherspoon ?????? Also!! Quick movie idea for you: You (played by you) tweet me in the middle of the night at the Olympics and I (played by me) die immediately. Thoughts? https://t.co/2p9b11QxEl— Adam Rippon (@Adaripp) February 8, 2018
Rippon credits with his mother for teaching him to stand up for himself and what he believes in, and if his new contract with NBC is any indication, it seems like it’s worked.