Anti-LGBTQ, religious fanatic Vice President Mike Pence, has been chosen to lead the U.S. Olympic delegation in Pyeongchang, South Korea next month. And one of America’s very best male figure skaters Adam Rippon is having none of it. Rippon is the 2016 figure skating National Champion, and the first openly gay athlete to be selected to compete for the U.S. at an Olympic Winter Games. Yesterday, Rippon told USA Today that he was disappointed to be making his Olympic debut alongside one of the most virulently anti-LGBTQ politicians in America. Rippon:
“You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy? I’m not buying it. 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. I wouldn’t go out of my way to meet somebody like that.”
Rippon compared Pence’s fanatical anti-LGBTQ positions with President Barack Obama’s decision to pick a U.S. delegation at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi with mostly openly gay athletes in protest of Russia’s crackdown of LGBTQ rights. Rippon also stated that he wouldn’t attend the post-Olympics celebration at the White House, but he did say he would consider having an “open conversation” with Pence.
Two-time Olympic skater Johnny Weir, who was not publicly out of the closet during his time competing, has praised the openly gay athletes competing at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Weir, who does commentary for NBC Sports, tweeted:
“I am so thrilled that there are out representatives of the LGBTQ community competing at the Olympic Games. Notably, @guskenworthy & @Adaripp among others. It is very brave for all of us to live our truths whether on the global stage or in our own homes.”
@guskenworthy is Gus Kenworthy, who came out after the Winter Olympics in 2014, where he won the Silver Medal and went home with a pack of stray dogs he adopted in Sochi.
Kenworthy, who has yet to qualify for the Olympics in Pyeongchang, claims that he is fine with the moniker “the gay skier”.
26-year-old Kenworthy called himself a “coward” for hiding who he was during his first Olympic experience, but he’s looking forward to the opportunity to represent the LGBTQ community this time around in South Korea. Kenworthy:
“I’ve got more eyeballs on me. My platform’s a lot bigger. I signed a bunch of Olympic sponsors and I have the LGBTQ audience watching me, and I want to do right by them.”
Kenworthy stated that “doing right” means representing America without supporting the POTUS. Kenworthy has been particularly outspoken on Trump’s administration, which he believes has forced the LGBTQ community to take a step backwards after the progressive policies of Barack Obama’s administration.
He also says that he would not accept a White House invite if he medals in Pyeongchang:
“I won’t go. I have no interest in going and faking support. I’m proud to be competing for the U.S. I’m proud to be an American, but I don’t want to show any support for that cabinet. I don’t want to go shake his hand.”
Kenworthy made international headlines when he and his boyfriend stayed behind in Russia for more than a month after the closing ceremonies as they fought to secure permits and paperwork to finalize the adoption of the homeless dogs.
Kenworthy has qualifying races next week. Here’s hoping he makes the team!