Michaela Jae Rodriguez
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Adam Rippon Gives Spectacular Performance in Olympic Debut

Adam Rippon

A stellar performance by out skater Adam Rippon helped the U.S. to a bronze medal in team figure skating at the Winter Olympics Sunday night (Monday morning in the host city of PyeongChang, South Korea).

Canada took the gold, helped along by another out skater, Eric Radford, who with performing partner Meagan Duhamel won the pairs free skate portion of the team event Saturday night/Sunday morning. Russia won the silver.

Rippon “did nothing short of dazzle in his Olympic debut,” reports USA Today. Subbing for Nathan Chen, scored a 172.98 in the free skate, placing him third in the event and earning eight points for Team USA on the way to the team bronze medal. Patrick Chan of Canada placed first in the men’s free skate, despite falling; he delivered a “lyrical performance to Jeff Buckley’s ‘Hallelujah,’” The New York Times reports. Russian Mikhail Kolyada was second, also despite a fall.

Rippon was “less heralded” than Chen, according to the Times, but substituted for him after Chen turned in what the paper called a “shaky performance” in the preliminaries, falling on a triple axel.

Rippon “is already a fan favorite for his funny, outspoken demeanor,” USA Today notes. In addition to publicly feuding with Vice President Mike Pence, who’s leading the U.S. delegation to the Olympics, and tweeting photos with a fellow out U.S. Olympian, freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy, Rippon has indeed been humorous.

Interviewed by NBC’s Mike Tirico Sunday night about his feelings while competing, he said, “I want to throw up. I want to go over to the judges and say, ‘Can I just have a Xanax and a quick drink? I’ll be fine.’ But I kept it together.” He skated to Coldplay’s “O” and the Cinematic Orchestra’s “Arrival of the Birds.”

Another top performer for Team USA was Mirai Nagasu, who became the first American woman to land a triple axel in the Olympics. Even with this achievement, she placed second to Russia’s Alina Zagitova in the women’s free skate portion of the team event. But “before the routine was even over, Nagasu was visibly exulting, and her score reflected the impressive performance,” the Times reports.

Radford and Duhamel bested the Italian pair of Valentina Marchei and Ondrej Hotaretk in the team pairs free skate by more than 10 points, after having come in second to Russia in the pairs short form program the previous night.

With Radford winning gold for Team Canada and Rippon taking bronze for Team USA, they’re the first out gay men to medal in any Winter Olympics, Outsports notes. They’ll both skate again this week, in pairs for Radford and Duhamel and men’s singles for Rippon. Another out athlete, bisexual speed skater Ireen Wüst, has taken home a silver for the Netherlands and will compete again Monday.

Take a look at Rippon’s performance and his interview below.





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