This interview was conducted as part of the interview series, LGBTQ&A, a weekly podcast that documents modern queer and trans history.
My favorite thing ever written about Adam Rippon described him as "our first nationally recognized and respected faggot.”
And it's true. When Adam was competing in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea in 2018, the country fell in love with him in a way we'd never seen for someone so overtly and unabashedly gay. We celebrated Adam Rippon for all of his accomplishments, as well as for being himself — for being gay — and since then, the public's fascination has only amplified.
Rippon has outlasted the allotted 15 minutes of fame that has befallen so many others in his position. We sat down to with him for The Advocate's LGBTQ&A podcast to talk about seeing his body change now that he's not training for six hours a day, realizing that he might have an eating disorder, and what's next for him now that's retired from skating.
On adjusting to not working out for six hours every day:
When I was training full-time, I was skating at least four hours a day. I was working out at least another two hours, so that's six to seven hours of working out a day. Then all of a sudden you go from that to making fart jokes on late night television. So the cardio output of fart jokes is way less than seven hours of working out.
You miss those endorphins pumping because they make you feel good and then all of a sudden they stop, and you start to kind of feel this a wave of depression where you're like, "What am I doing? I'm not moving. I'm not being active anymore." It was such a huge part of my life.
On competing against much younger skaters:
For me specifically, I had to really watch what I ate because I needed to make sure I was really slight. Not because I was like, "I want to look as thin as possible," which was great, but really because I was closer to 30 going to the Olympics. The people I was competing against were in their late teens or early twenties and they're much lighter than I was.
On eating very little:
I wouldn't say it was really an eating disorder. I think when people think of eating disorders, they go right towards body dysphoria and I never looked in the mirror and was like, "I don't like what I see." I was really lucky not to struggle with that.
Obviously, when somebody is telling you they're eating just a few slices of bread and a yogurt, something's wrong. But that came from a place of me trying to control a situation, which I guess is, I'm describing an eating disorder.
On associating hunger with "doing the right thing":
My friends who I was close with and who I was training with were like, "Adam, that's not good. We're going to dinner, and you say you're just going to get steamed vegetables and water when you haven't eaten lunch."
But it's scary because that sense of hunger is something I still associate with good and doing the right thing. So it was really pushing through that, trying to fuel myself for the right reasons.
On how his relationship with food has changed:
Now doing things more in the entertainment world, if you gain a few pounds, it's not do or die. You can still be funny, you can still be quick-witted. You don't lose your wit when you gain weight.
On figuring out what's next:
It almost feels like starting over. In sports, you have this one goal, it's the Olympics, to go to the Olympics, to medal at the Olympics. And you go, and you have that moment and then it's over in the blink of an eye. Then you're like, "What do I do next?" I love making people laugh. I love talking to people. I love interacting and learning other people's stories.
Adam Rippon's web series, Break the Ice, comes out every Wednesday on YouTube.