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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > November 2018 > ICE WARRIOR

ICE WARRIOR

As if changing the face of skating by being the first out gay Winter Olympian wasn’t enough, Adam Rippon sealed the vote for the Attitude Sport Award, supported by Jaguar, by taking on anti-gay Vice President Mike Pence

THE S PORT AWARD Adam Rippon

Words Cliff Joannou

Photography Leigh Keily

Styling Joseph Kocharian

Location thanks to Lane Adams & Richard Savage Encino residence

Adam wears swim briefs, by Vanwolff

When Adam Rippon arrived in Pyeongchang for the Winter Olympics earlier this year, he did so as the first out gay Winter Olympian. Following a controversial Games four years earlier, hosted by Sochi in anti-gay Russia, Adam’s openness was a major step forward for LGBT+ awareness in sport.

Proudly representing the USA, what Adam didn’t anticipate was becoming embroiled in a social-media war of words with not only Vice President Mike Pence but also Donald Trump who unsurprisingly chimed in as well.

It all started when Adam, 28, was asked by USA Today what he thought about Pence leading the US Olympic delegation to South Korea. He went on to say that he wasn’t interested in meeting Pence, as would have been customary for athletes, due to his questionable record on LGBT+ rights. “I don’t think he has a concept of reality,” Rippon told the news outlet. “To stand by some of the things that Donald Trump has said and for Mike Pence to say he’s a devout Christian is completely contradictory.”

What followed was a series of Twitter exchanges in which Pence allegedly asked the ice-skater for a meeting, which Adam declined after “significant consideration.”

Pence’s off ice denied the off er was ever made, with the VP (predictably) tweeting the story was #FakeNews.

Returning to the USA with a bronze medal, Adam was one of the heroes of Team USA, not only blazing a new trail on the worldwide stage by being open about his sexuality, but also making a stand for queer rights at home. It’s easy to see why he is a worthy recipient of an Attitude Award.

When we first shot Adam in January ahead of the Winter Olympics, all of this was in his future. Today, as we lounge around a pool in the hills on the outskirts of LA for his second Attitude profile piece, his world is somewhat more glitzy. And that’s really saying something for someone already accustomed to dazzling crowds with endless spins on the ice, dressed in a sequin-encrusted outfit. Adam has gone on to become a celebrity in his own right. He stole the show on the red carpet at the Oscars, won an all-athlete series of Dancing with the Stars (the US take on Strictly), and is currently on TV screens as a judge on the first season of Dancing with the Stars: Juniors.

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About Attitude

The Attitude Awards issue! With Adam Rippon, Jess Glynne, George Takei, Boy George, Tituss Burgess & more. Plus: 20 years on from Matthew Shepard’s murder his parents speak about his enduring legacy