SportsPulse: Trysta Krick sits down with U.S. Olympian Adam Rippon to discuss his experience in the ‘Body Issue’ and spares no detail.
USA TODAY Sports
Bronze medal-winning Olympian Adam Rippon had many options to sift through when choosing a title for his memoir. That’s because he went to his Twitter account for inspiration.
“I was in a (expletive) zone on Twitter then,” Adam Rippon tells USA TODAY, referring to his social media presence during the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang. Rippon’s account became the source of much fascination following an interview with USA TODAY’s Christine Brennan, where he criticized the selection of Vice President Mike Pence to lead the U.S. Olympic delegation to South Korea. Pence later tweeted at him not to “let fake news distract you.”
Rippon ultimately chose this Feb. 14, 2018 tweet as inspiration: “With everything going on in the media about me this Valentine’s Day I don’t want people to get distracted and forget how beautiful I am (on the outside).” His memoir, “Beautiful on the Outside” (Grand Central Publishing, 245 pp.), is out Tuesday.
He loves the title because it goes tongue-in-cheek with skating: Drama can be going on behind closed rinks, but when you go out and compete, you have to pretend everything’s perfect. “You don’t want to seem weak in front of your competitors and, it’s this really ‘beautiful on the outside’ sort of mentality,” he says.
What you may not know about Adam Rippon
Rippon’s life may indeed have looked beautiful on the outside – but readers will quickly learn at times it wasn’t beautiful at all.
Failing to make the 2014 Sochi Olympics, struggling with his diet, dealing with romantic and familial relationship issues, navigating his coming-out experience – Rippon’s sleek, stunning skating doesn’t tell his whole story.
For example, one of his coaches told Rippon that he would stop accepting money from his mother and wanted him to pay for everything on his own. Rippon agreed – but to save money, ended up eating free green apples and drinking TAZO tea from a resort gym where he worked out. The problem? Rippon is allergic to apples. He had an itchy throat during that time (that’s where the tea came in to help).
As for coming out: Once he came out publicly in aSkating Magazine article in 2015, his mother was his no. 1 fan. She was worried for him previously, as she had many LGBTQ friends growing up who died during the AIDS crisis and wanted to save him from the things they had gone through. She was worried it would hold back his skating career. He said it was important for him to do, and his mom trusted him.
Rippon had girlfriends in the past and felt like he liked them. “If I’m being 100 percent honest, the reason I wasn’t having sex with the girls that I had dated was because I thought I was being a good guy,” he writes.
It wasn’t until he was with a man that something clicked. “These are the feelings that everybody talks about,” he tells USA TODAY.
Rippon’s book, however, isn’t all serious or depressing. Much like his Twitter account, the book is full of pithy one-liners, jokes and pop-culture references. Wait until you get to the part about an incident between a hawk and two birds he was pet-sitting (we won’t spoil the ending).
Also, remember that his birthday is Nov. 11. Trust us. “That was my Taylor Swift Easter egg, that at least someone would remember my birthday,” he says.
‘He lied every single day’: Adam Rippon slams ‘Dancing With the Stars’ contestant Sean Spicer
Would Adam Rippon have a chat with Mike Pence now?
Rippon would be open to talking to Pence, though he’d want to bring people with him to share their stories.
“Mike Pence hasn’t affected my life. He’s affected the lives of a lot of other people,” Rippon says. He adds that they deserve to have the time in front of him to tell him what they’ve gone through because of legislation he’s pushed, but that it’s not his conversation.
Rippon claims, however, he knows Pence’s outreach in the first place was no more than a “stunt.”
“I knew it was a stunt when I was getting tweeted at by the vice president directly at the Olympics,” he says.
‘The Masked Singer’ egg, and ‘Dancing With the Stars’
Rippon came home to trending topics on Twitter recently, and saw his name, “impeachment” and “Nancy Pelosi.” Naturally, he was confused. He realized that this had to do with speculation that he was the egg on FOX’s reality show “The Masked Singer.” The egg turned out to be another ice-skating Olympian: Johnny Weir! Rippon says he loves the show.
Speaking of reality television: Rippon also spoke out about the current “Dancing With the Stars” cast. He didn’t have kind words for current “Dancing” contestant Sean Spicer.
“I had Tonya Harding on my cast … but this cast is a little bit more extreme,” Rippon says.
Rippon says he isn’t a Spicer fan, suggesting that the former press secretary and White House communications director “lied” during his tenure. “I know he was just doing his job, but he lied every single day,” Rippon says. “Sean Spicer’s a (expletive) liar.”
Rippon’s candid nature is evident in the book, in conversation and on his Twitter account. The best part? It doesn’t seem like a calculation: He says he only posts items on social media he thinks his friends will find funny.
“Because of that the people who have followed me can feel like I’m already friends with them,” he says.
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