Adam Rippon and boyfriend Jussi-Pekka "JP" Kajaala proposed to each other this winter while in the latter's home country of Finland

By Lindsay Kimble
February 10, 2021 01:16 PM
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Adam Rippon and Jussi-Pekka Kajaala
| Credit: Adam Rippon

Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon has said yes to forever with his longtime boyfriend Jussi-Pekka "JP" Kajaala.

Rippon and Kajaala are engaged, the former athlete confirmed on social media on Wednesday.

"I'm excited to marry JP because he's just the best," Rippon tells PEOPLE in an exclusive statement. "He's kind, he's funny, and he's just as beautiful on the inside as he is on the out (which is a lot). He's my cheerleader and I'm his. I just love him a lot."

The couple, who first started dating in 2018 after meeting on app Tinder, got engaged while Rippon, 31, was visiting Kajaala in his home country of Finland from November of last year into January.

"We didn't have the chance to see each other for most of 2020," Rippon says. "The engagement was something we had talked about earlier so when I was finally able to get to Finland this November we felt like it would be the perfect time."

And both men got down on one knee, as Rippon tells PEOPLE the pair proposed together.

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"We did everything together," explains Rippon. "We bought the rings together and picked them up at the same time. I really wanted us to have rings from Finland. I thought it would be fun to have a little piece of Finland with us all the time as JP is getting ready to move to Los Angeles hopefully by the end of the year."

Once the rings arrived, the happy couple unboxed them and gave them to each other: "We did it at the same time so we both got to be the one who proposed!"

The couple's rings
| Credit: Adam Rippon

And the moment came during a low-key night — the pair went to Hotel Kamp in Helsinki, enjoyed a dinner and walked around the Finnish capital to celebrate.

Rippon tells PEOPLE they haven't started wedding planning just yet.

"Since it'll be pretty hard to get both of our families together in the same place, we both want to have a courthouse wedding," he says. "We want to try and film the day and be able to share it with our family so that everyone feels included!"

Rippon — who won a bronze medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics and was one of the first openly gay men to compete on Team USA — previously said during an appearance on The RuPaul Show in 2019 that he knew Kajaala was the one for him.

"He's so cute, he's so sweet," Rippon said at the time. "We've talked about it. I think he's like, the guy. He's just like the nicest."

During the appearance, Rippon explained that the Tinder connection with Kajaala — who documents much of his life on his YouTube channel — happened while the athlete was competing in Helsinki. The pair then texted for several months and finally met in person when Kajaala flew to visit Rippon in Los Angeles.

Credit: Adam Rippon/ instagram

The Olympic athlete documented much of his time in Finland on social media, sharing photos of the pair and the plentiful snow.

Rippon even dusted off his skates while overseas, sharing a video of himself twirling around on a frozen lake.