Gay Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon blasts selection of Mike Pence to lead U.S. delegation
Adam Rippon, the openly gay 2016 U.S. men’s figure skating champion, is criticizing the White House’s selection of Vice President Mike Pence to lead the 2018 U.S. Olympic delegation to South Korea.
“You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy?” Rippon told USA Today. “I’m not buying it.”
Rippon, 28, said that he would prefer not to meet Pence during the traditional meet-and-greet between the official delegation and U.S. athletes in the hours leading to the opening ceremony.
“If it were before my event, I would absolutely not go out of my way to meet somebody who I felt has gone out of their way to not only show that they aren’t a friend of a gay person but that they think that they’re sick,” he said. “I wouldn’t go out of my way to meet somebody like that. “I don’t think he has a real concept of reality,” Rippon said of Pence. “To stand by some of the things that Donald Trump has said and for Mike Pence to say he’s a devout Christian man is completely contradictory. If he’s okay with what’s being said about people and Americans and foreigners and about different countries that are being called ‘shitholes,’ I think he should really go to church.”
Nippon added: “If I had the chance to meet him afterwards, after I’m finished competing, there might be a possibility to have an open conversation. He seems more mild-mannered than Donald Trump. … But I don’t think the current administration represents the values that I was taught growing up. Mike Pence doesn’t stand for anything that I really believe in.”
Rippon came out publicly as being gay in October 2015. He said recently he will not go to the White House for a post-Olympic celebration hosted by President Trump.
“I said no,” he reiterated Tuesday. Legendary skier Lindsey Vonn has said she will not attend as well.
But Rippon also said he will not protest for gay rights or against the Trump administration in any way during the Olympics themselves.
“No, I’m a U.S. athlete representing my country. I will continue to share my story, but I will participate in no form of protest. I’m representing myself and my country on the world stage. I have a lot of respect for this opportunity. What makes America great is that we’re all so different. It’s 2018 and being an openly gay man and an athlete, that is part of the face of America now.”