Adam Rippon has opened up about being inundated with letters from LGBT+ teens who have shown him “overwhelming” support for being one of the first out gay men at the Winter Olympics.
Rippon, 28, won a bronze medal at the Pyeongchang Games earlier this week.
Adam’s agent, David Baden, told USA Today that he was really moved by one letter in particular from an 18-year-old gay teen who comes from a family who do not accept his sexuality.
“He said Adam’s bravery inspired him to write and that even though he’s still struggling, seeing Adam as such an incredible example helps him.”
Baden passed the letter onto Rippon, who admitted that he was emotional about the letter:
“Absolutely. It’s so important. I would just tell him that there’s nothing more liberating than to really own who you are.
“It’s one of the best feelings in the world to be comfortable with who you are, not care what other people think and just really embrace your true potential because that’s really when you realize that anything is possible.”
“I think that being vocal has kind of given my skating more importance,” Rippon added.
“It’s not just for me. I go out there because it’s not just, oh, I was a young gay kid. Everybody can relate to being different, or feel like they’re not good enough.”
“I had those doubts too. I can go out there and I want to show those young kids that anything is possible.
“It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what other people say about you.
“You can put that all behind you and you can go out there and you can show the world what you have to offer.
“I think coming to the Olympics has been a really wonderful opportunity for me to share my viewpoint. It’s given my skating a greater purpose.”
LGBT+ Representation At The Winter Olympics
Also representing LGBT+ athletes at this year’s games was pairs figure skater, Eric Radford from Canada, who won gold for his performance set to Adele’s ‘Hometown’.
In previous Winter Olympics, there has been very few out gay male athletes. In 2014, 7 lesbian and bisexual women competed in Sochi, where it was illegal to even speak about homosexuality around minors, let alone openly display gay pride.
One of these women, speed skater Ireen Wüst from the Netherlands, won a gold medal at the 3000 metres and at the team pursuit, and silver medals at 1000, 1500 and 5000 metres.
At this year’s games, she briefly became the most decorated speed skater in Olympic history by winning gold in the Women’s 1500m race, only to be dramatically beaten out by her girlfriend Jorien ter Mors a few days later.
The figures of LGBT representation increase every Olympic games with more individuals deciding to come out before the competition.
In the past, LGBT+ athletes have been cautious of speaking about their sexuality due to a perception that it would result in a loss of sponsorships and endorsement opportunities.
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