Adam Rippon is the first openly gay American to win an Olympic medal

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Since I’m now a sports blogger – *adjusts gauche baseball cap* – let’s talk about the Olympics! Or more importantly, let’s talk about Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon. I’m sorry to say that I didn’t pay much attention to Rippon pre-Olympics, not even when he was openly slamming the sh-t out of Mother’s Husband, because Mother’s Husband is a homophobic douchebag who believes in “gay conversion therapy” and believes that LGBTQ people are lesser humans, deserving of less respect and fewer rights. As it turns out, that was only the appetizer to the brilliance that is Adam Rippon.

Rippon made his Olympic debut during NBC’s primetime coverage on Day 3 (Sunday). He skating an individual program for the team competition – meaning, each country’s team skated their individual programs and then were judged as a group. Team USA took home the bronze, making Rippon the first openly gay Olympian to win a figure skating medal. If you watched the competition, you probably understood why the Russian women scored so high – they were amazing, and they definitely pushed the Russian’s team score crazy-high. But just as a side-by-side comparison, Adam Rippon skated the sh-t out of his routine and his routine was much better than all of the other male figure skaters, but his score didn’t show that. HE WAS TRANSCENDENT. The other dudes were not. I still don’t understand how a skater (or multiple skaters) can get a higher score than Rippon even though their ass touched the ice.

So, I’m incredibly proud of Rippon and I’ll be rooting for him like crazy during the individual competitions. But I hope they figure out the scoring because this sh-t is a mess. Good job, Adam!!

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89 Responses to “Adam Rippon is the first openly gay American to win an Olympic medal”

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  1. MI6 says:

    LOVE him. His interviews are so candid and honest. ❤

  2. Scal says:

    Why did the other guys get a higher score? They had multiple quad jumps and Rippon has zero. So they are starting from a higher possible point value for their score.

    I did roll my eyes that they got the same/higher artistic score as him because he blew them all away on that front. Olympic figure skating judges going to play politics as usual

    • BaronSamedi says:

      Yeah, I was kind of with them on the technical score but WTF on the artistic…

      Oh well, he is young and still has at least one more Olympics in him hopefully!

    • Rapunzel says:

      Personally, I hate the technical scoring. I feel like it Celebrates attempts at awesomeness rather than actual awesomeness. I for one do not like seeing people fall but it happens way often because people are trying things that are too difficult.

    • Adrien says:

      Quads. Always my problem with figure skating. Might as well turn that sports into trick contest. Like Adam, Jason Brown’s program in men’s single last Olympics (Sochi) was flawless and entertaining but he didn’t give us quads. Judges awarded the medals to quad having Patrick Chan and Yuzuru Hanyu who fell. Falling is just -1.
      Although I think judges are a bunch of homophobes.

      • INeedANap says:

        Figure skating and gymnastics are undergoing that change in fashion — where it is less about overall artistry and more about the technical heights. I expect it will swing back the other way eventually, but for now unfortunately Rippon’s overall competence is not being considered “as good” as others’ failed attempts at the quad.

      • Megan says:

        When they announced he would not be attempting a quad I knew what was going to be a spectacular performance would not get the scores. I thought Tara Lapinski’s comment that his program was perfectly tuned to the nuance of the music was spot on. It was such a joy to watch him skate.

        On another note, I finally saw I, Tonya on Saturday. And I know an ice skating judge. I think his political comments hurt him with the judges.

      • KicktheSticks says:

        LOL no. Homophobes they are not. Figure skating has long been one of the sports where gay men are really free to be themselves. Go all the way back to Toller Cranston. He made no secret of it and that was like 30 years ago.

      • Megan says:

        @KicktheSticks The fact that you went straight to homophobia is so sad. Judges like skaters who don’t publicly express political opinion – liberal or conservative.

    • sunny says:

      Artistically his skate was beautiful but his technical base score was lower than the other competitors. I also think it wasn’t simply that the other competitors were doing quads, figure skating has many bonuses you can incorporate into your routine(including when you place your jumps and spins) and I think his routine was light on attempts at bonuses as well. The commentators right at the beginning of his routine mentioned his decision to sacrifice some technical difficulty because he wanted to focus on skating clean. That is definitely a big trade-off.

      It was wonderful to see him skate so beautifully though! I really like him and he gives really great interviews. If he skates like that he has a good shot at medalling in the men’s event

    • KicktheSticks says:

      Always. The judging is a mess. I can understand why he’s got a lower tech score but NO WAY was the Elvis program more artistic than Adam’s program. Adam needs a quad and now, at the end of his career, he’s unlikely to start executing them solidly. You have the other guys doing like 3 or 4 quads in their programs. But the judging, as usual, is BS even with the attempts over the years to clean it up. Russians are constantly overstored and Americans are constantly underscored. Another example: The Shib sibs vs the Russian pair.

      • Tina says:

        Yes. Ice dance is the worst because it’s so subjective. The Shibs are consistently underscored and the Russians and French consistently overscored. I will rage when the French beat the Canadians, because it’s completely unjustified, but it’s going to happen.

  3. mellie says:

    I love him and he was absolutely awesome last night, I’m so happy for he and Mirai and all the US skaters! I am an Olympics hound anyway, but this is one of the best stories of the games, in my opinion.

  4. grabbyhands says:

    Man, he was ROBBED last night. He basically skated a flawless program and still scored lower than the kid who actually FELL?

    Also, it’s been a few years since I’ve actively watched the Olympics-I didn’t remember a team skate before. Is that new or was I just not paying attention?

    • Rapunzel says:

      It’s new. Started in Sochi If I’m not mistaken.

    • Taxi says:

      Points are awarded for specific moves & pre-ranked difficulty. Some moves are ranked higher if performed the 2nd half of the program than they would be in the first half. There’s a whole math system for accumulating more points -i.e., twizzling with arms overhead is harder than with arms down or at sides, so they more points for that. A fall in a quad attempt that doesn’t interrupt the timing & flow can score higher than a perfect triple, just because it’s that much harder to do.
      Some skaters (not Adam) may look wonderful because they aren’t trying anything overly difficult, but those probably aren’t at the Olympics anyway. It’ll be interesting to see what Adam does for his individual routine – maybe he’ll try a quad?

      • Michelle says:

        They did say last night he played it safer because he only needed to beat the Italian since the US was only competing for the bronze (no chance of catching Canada or Russia) and his program was enough to do that easily even without a quad attempt.

    • KicktheSticks says:

      He wasn’t robbed. All jumps are given a base point value and the quads come with a very high value, the highest. If you fall on a quad, you still get the base point value for the attempt. You just lose points for execution of the element. So, basically, falling on a quad vs landing a clean triple, because of base point value, will ALWAYS give you more points for the quad attempt. Triple jumps have a lower start value. It’s math. That’s why you see so many people loading their programs with technical things and lacking on artistic. Adam did the opposite. He was banking on his artistic components but unfortunately those quads give so many points that he really is out of medal contention even if all the guys attempting quads fall. He NEEDS a solid quad and he doesn’t really have one. Most of these guys have at least 2 or 3, and in combination. He’d be better off trying a quad and falling on it. Adam has no real shot at a medal unfortunately. I’d say the best he can place is 5th under the current system.

      • Scarlet Vixen says:

        @KICKTHESTICKS: You’re absolutely correct on your comments on quads & the technical scoring. But, Adam WAS robbed on his component score. I’ve been a massive figure skating fan my entire life, and have watched virtually every competition this season. There is no way that Kolyada’s & Rippon’s artistic scores should have been that close–Kolyada 86.22 & Adam 86.74 (compare to Chan 93.08). Not only is Kolyada’s skating/choreography still very junior, he was sloppy, and component scores are meant to go down when skaters fall on jumps because it damages the overall ‘feel’ of a program (skating ‘skills’, musicality, edges, transitions, etc).

        ETA: I’ve enjoyed reading your comments on this thread. So nice to find other knowledgeble figure skating fans!

  5. jferber says:

    Gorgeous, too. I’m so proud of him and he’s definitely a great American as well as a world champion. No better person to represent the beautiful diversity that is America. It’s only ugly, small-minded people who hate anyone different from themselves. Truly fascistic and dangerous thing to do and unfortunately, our own so-called president is a beacon for the hate-mongers.

  6. its too early says:

    Can I have some Xanax and maybe a drink? – Adam on how he felt when he took the ice for the first time. He killed it!

  7. Jayna says:

    His jumps were absolutely effortless, his spins glorious, and his artistry to the music stunning. I get no quads so pointswise hurt him, but still, Chan did not deserve to be ahead of him with his mistakes in that freestyle skate.

    I love this guy so much. God bless you for not meeting with gay conversion advocate, Mike Pence, and VP to our Evil-in-Chief.

  8. April says:

    i watched him and the guy after him last night. Adams was just mesmerising. the next guys didn’t have that same feeling, not to mention he feel and lost balance once. i know he attempted things and that counts.. but adam definitely has something special.
    this is just from watching 10min of something that happened to be on, i never heard of any of them before, but I’m definitely a fan of adam now :)

  9. Lee1 says:

    I missed his skate and will have to look it up as it sounds like he was wonderful. And that’s amazing about him being the first out American to medal, but just for the record, this part isn’t true “making Rippon the first openly gay Olympian to win a figure skating medal”. Or at least not exclusively the first. Canada’s Eric Radford (the male half of our top pairs team) won gold last night along side team Canada and he has been out since 2014. He was actually the first ever figure skater to come out during the height of his competing career. And he is engaged to an adorable Spanish ice dancer named Luis Fenero. But either way, a huge accomplishment for both men and their respective teams/countries!

    • Lee1 says:

      Also, as an aside about LGBT Olympians, Julie Chu and Caroline Ouellette have the cutest story ever in that they were long time rivals – Captains of the US and Canadian women’s hockey teams respectively – and they are now married and just had a beautiful baby girl together! Neither is competing at the Olympic level anymore, but they do still play professional women’s hockey.

  10. F says:

    regular figure skating fans who watches all competitions here. i would say Rippon should have been in 2nd, but Chan from Canada deserves the first place. yes, he fell once and stumbled and get punished from it, but he landed all of his quads (Rippon didn’t attempted any quads), his program is way more complicated too (means he moves more with one foot), and his skating skill is way better (means he skates smoother and deeper). so, there’s that. this is not uncommon

    i’m very proud of what Rippon achieved though. he really deserves this

    • sunnydeereynolds says:

      Yes. He was definitely underscored and should’ve been in the 2nd place but not 1st. Canadian Chan had higher scores due to his quads. He was just overall the better skater and had better and harder program than Rippon.

      Some people are wondering why Alina from Russia outskated Mirai when Mirai successfully completed the triple axel. It was because Alina had her jumps in the second half part of the program which is very challenging but rewarding since she gets 10 points bonus for doing that.

      • nic919 says:

        I hope next year they revise this and mandate a few jumps prior to the 2 minute mark. I know Alina is gaming the system, but I think the program was unbalanced and it should affect the artistic mark.

      • Absurdist says:

        Nitpick: the bonus for jumps in the second half of the program is an additional 10% to the base value of each jump, not 10 points.

        It is gaming the system and does produce an unbalanced skate, but that’s something on the level of attempting a quad and not landing it; you still get more points on the base value than you would on a successful triple.

    • nic919 says:

      I have to agree with this as well. Patrick Chan also has strong skills in spinning as well as the jumps and he connects his elements better than almost anyone currently competing. Canada gets no favours when it comes to male figure skaters at the Olympics (still bitter over Elvis Stojko not getting the gold over Alexei Urmanov) and Patrick Chan can do amazing performances.

      The current system is set up to award skaters who take the risk for the higher technical level, as opposed to not taking the risk. About 10 years back that was reversed, but now with the revised scoring system, this is what they want.

    • another nina says:

      As a slightly more advanced regular fan, F, I have to say that moving a lot on one foot is usually taught to an average 8y.o. figureskater (I’m not sure what is the differentiation of junior levels in the U.S.) Now, quads are essential for a competitive male figureskating level. I know that Kolyada (placed 2nd) had planned to perform 6 squads. Whether he failed one-two or not, still he would have had a technical advantage over triples.

    • KicktheSticks says:

      Patrick is very elegant but sooo inconsistent. I think Adam should have been above Kolyada. I think a point separated them? Kolyada has been A MESS and the Elvis program is kind of a fail. When Kolyada lands the quads they are stunning though. High and fast. It’s a shame that Adam didn’t spend the last year developing his quad, at least one of them in order to compete with the top 5 men. His best scores don’t even come close to the the best scores of the top guys like Chan, Hanyu, Chen.

  11. Catherine says:

    His routine messed me up 😭😭😭😭

  12. Annaloo. says:

    Johnny Weir was not our first openly gay skater who earned a medal? Just wondering…. I thought he I wrong?

  13. JA says:

    His interview off the ice was crazy but it was real and emotional so I was like, I LIKE THIS DUDE! Love he called out one of the homophobes in office. Good things for him!

  14. thaisajs says:

    I couldn’t believe his routine. We all sat on the couch unmoving as he did the entire routine. It was spell-binding. I think he was robbed, but as it’s the team competition the judges still have time during the singles competition to right this wrong. The Russian male skater wasn’t bad exactly, but not terribly inspiring. The female Russian skater, tho…wow. She was amazing.

  15. nch000 says:

    Eric Radford of Canada, who was part of the team that won the gold in this same event, is also openly gay. So, co-first I suppose.

  16. TheOtherOne says:

    I needed this on a Monday morning. Thank you, Adam!

  17. Mumbles says:

    I know Rippon wasn’t at fault, but I feel bad about Ross Miner getting relegated to second alternate after winning a silver at Nationals while Rippon came in fourth. Thank goodness they didn’t screw over Mirai the same way, like they did in 2014. I am over the moon for her after her performance last night. I’ve loved her skating since she came in fourth as a fifteen-year old at the 2010 Olympics.

  18. Redgrl says:

    Eric Radford, the Canadian gold medal winning pairs skater, is the first openly gay athlete to win a GOLD medal at the Olympics, winning in that same team event. And since he and Adam Rippon won in the same competition they are both ground breakers.

  19. gatorbait says:

    I quit watching the Olympics years ago. I hate the way NBC covers the events and I hate the scoring on my favorite events. Figure Skating for the winter and Gymnastics for the summer. There is too much that doesn’t make sense. They need to get their sh*t together. The Olympics in the 80′s and 90′s were my favorite. Maybe I’m remembering it through a child’s eyes. lol

  20. HoustonGrl says:

    I watched Rippon in the U.S. championships and he made me cry. Even though he fell a lot in that competition, I still felt that his performance was one of the more moving ones I’d seen. He’s truly an artist and a great performer. The activist part is just a bonus!

  21. L says:

    I’m so happy for him! But I think he should have won the gold! I was in tears watching him skate. He was amazing!0

  22. adastraperaspera says:

    Bravo, Adam! I was agape at his performance. It was the most expressive skating I’ve ever seen. As a lesbian, I am so, so proud of Adam for being out in the spotlight.

  23. Michelle says:

    His performance wasn’t a difficult as some of the others. The announcers commented that by switching out the quad he sacrificed 13 possible points but he didn’t need those points to beat the Italian (if he skated clean) which was his main goal last night as the US was fighting for the bronze. Patrick Chan’s program was much more difficult and that’s why he won the long program (plus it was wonderful, despite his missteps).

  24. KicktheSticks says:

    He’s the first openly gay figure skater to win a medal? Really? I thought Johnny Weir won one. Maybe just World championships. Also, Eric Radford (Canadian pairs) is openly gay and they won gold last night. Adam had a beautiful skate and he was underscored on his artistic components. NO WAY was he not better than the Russian guy artistically. It’s too bad he doesn’t have a quad though. With the current point system, not having a quad in your program puts you right out of medal contention since even attempting a quad gives you more points than landing a triple. Then of course is the consistent underscoring of Americans and OVERscoring of Russians. Figure skating judging is still such a fail. They need to get their shit together. The Shibs were underscored as well. Sick and tired of seeing the Russians constantly propped up by the corrupt judges.

    • Another Nina says:

      Johnny had never been olympic medalist. And with regards to consistent underscoring of Americans, I believe you express a patriotic opinion, rather than a rational one. Many times, nonprofessionals just don’t see those nuances that add up to scores. Usually, I watch competitions using explanations from professional coaches and only then I can follow logic of many programms…Unfortunately, current rules are incredibly complicated.

  25. Layla Love says:

    Why would he even JOKE about needing Xanax and a drink? He’s supposed to be a gay role model! He’s clearily not the sharpest blade in the rink.

  26. Anare says:

    Adam Rippons free skate program was gorgeous. Judges were low-balling American skaters. Tara Lipinski pointed out where some of the scoring was actually in error. And she had that figured out right away so it’s not like the poor judges couldn’t figure it out. Shady.

  27. Beverley says:

    Really sad that it’s taken this long to just have an openly gay male ice skater.
    Congrats to him but um…management..a word?