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Olympian Keynotes Equality Michigan Event

Adam Rippon photo
Figure skater Adam Rippon won a bronze medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics. He was the first openly gay male American athlete to medal in the winter games.

Adam Rippon, the Olympic bronze medalist figure skater from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeonchang, South Korea, is coming to Michigan on Friday. He’s the keynote speaker for the annual fall reception of the gay rights organization Equality Michigan. The Detroit event is sold out.

WKAR's Scott Pohl talks with Adam Rippon about several subjects:

DID ADAM PLAY OTHER SPORTS AS A CHILD? "When I started skating, I had to give up all of the other sports that I was playing. I used to play baseball; I was on our tee-ball team and Little League teams every year; I was not very good. I also played tennis. When I started skating, I wanted to skate as much as possible, so I had to give up my other sports. Growing up, I was always really small; I was picked last for a lot of those team sports. Skating was one of those things where it didn't matter how big or small I was. I could just focus on myself without letting the bigger kids on my team down."

ON COMPETING AGAIN: "I'm not planning to compete again in the future. I had such a great Olympic experience, and even before the Olympics, I was so proud and happy with what I had done in my career that it felt like after the Olympics was the perfect time to step away from that amateur status. I don't want to walk completely away from skating because it's my home. Every time I walk into a rink, it feels like I belong there."

ON BEING DESCRIBED AS THE FIRST OPENLY GAY MALE AMERICAN ATHLETE TO MEDAL IN THE WINTER OLYMPICS: "It doesn't bother me, but there's two sides of the coin. One, I find it bizarre that in 2018 I was the first out athlete to compete in the winter games. The other side is that I hope the next out gay athletes will just be called athletes."

ON WINNING 'DANCING WITH THE STARS': "Winning 'Dancing With the Stars' was so fun! I owe it to my family over at 'Dancing With the Stars' and to my partner, Jenna Johnson, who has become a close friend. I think I was able to have such a good time because I wasn't focused on the competition so much. I was focused on just going out there and enjoying myself every time I got to compete."

ON POSING NUDE, ON ICE SKATES, FOR ESPN THE MAGAZINE'S 'THE BODY' ISSUE: "Thank God I was in good shape! I was so worried I was going to look like a melted candle! I had a fab team with me who made sure I felt comfortable and awesome. You know, you get really close with people when you walk around naked for eight hours in a cold rink!"

Scott Pohl is a general assignment news reporter and produces news features and interviews. He is also an alternate local host on NPR's "Morning Edition."
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