“Maybe,” Rippon answered during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live Tuesday night after a caller asked if there was any truth to the buzz that Weir, a retired Olympic figure skater who now commentates the sport for NBC, was jealous of the attention Rippon received at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Like Rippon, Weir is openly gay, although he didn’t come out until after he competed at the Olympics, in 2011. (Weir skated in the 2006 and 2010 games.) Because Weir was not out when he competed, Rippon officially earned the title of the first openly gay Winter Olympian at the PyeongChang Games, alongside freeskier Gus Kenworthy.
Rippon said he honestly doesn’t know if there’s any truth to the claims that Weir is jealous of him, and the pair didn’t talk much during the Games.
“We didn’t really have any interactions,” Rippon said. “So maybe, but I really don’t know.”
Rippon also said he’s not hugely interested in going down the same path as Weir (and turned down NBC’s commentator offer after he ended his Olympic run.)
“I’m not coming for his job, I’m not coming for his gig,” Rippon said. “I want to do something else.”
For his part, Weir appeared to shut down the rumors on Twitter, saying that he’s been a “fan of his skating for a long time.”
The feeling is mutual: Rippon also said that he appreciates that Weir helped pave the way when it comes to being a gay athlete in figure skating.
“We’ve always reached out to each other and I’ve always thanked him,” he said. “I kind of feel like he helped make my way a little bit easier.”
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During his appearance on Watch What Happens Live, Rippon also shared more about his interaction with Sally Field’s son Sam Greisman. Field encouraged Greisman to “find a way” to date Rippon — and shared their text exchange on Twitter. Rippon said he spoke with Greisman after the moment hit social media, and that they bonded over Rippon’s empathy for his mom-induced embarrassment.
“If my mom ever did that to me I’d probably be in jail because I would have killed her,” Rippon joked. “I reached out to her son so I could put a stop to the madness. He’s really nice. We went back and forth and I gave him tickets to come to Stars on Ice.”