"I think she is so great," Adam Rippon tells PEOPLE editor-in-chief Jess Cagle of Ellen DeGeneres, "and she has followed a path that I would love to follow"
Figure skater Adam Rippon just made history as the first openly gay man to compete for the United States at the Winter Olympics. His athleticism earned him a bronze medal on the ice during the figure skating team event, while his quick wit and candor earned him the adoration of viewers and celebrities including Reese Witherspoon and Sally Field.
“I want to be on television,” Rippon, 28, tells PEOPLE’s editor-in-chief, Jess Cagle, in the latest episode of The Jess Cagle Interview. “I really like engaging with people, I really like making people laugh.”
The Pennsylvania native says his post-Olympic future isn’t firm — though he’s set to tour nationwide with Stars on Ice beginning in April, and has been rumored to be joining Dancing With the Stars — but he has spent time thinking about what’s to come.
“I think that I’m trying to do so much right now because I don’t exactly know what I want to do next,” he says in the above clip from his PEOPLE sit-down. (Of DWTS, he previously told PEOPLE: “If the opportunity came up, I would love to do it.”)
Watch the full episode of The Jess Cagle Interview: Adam Rippon, streaming now on PeopleTV.com, or download the PeopleTV app on your favorite device.
“I think I have a vision of where I might see myself in a few years … I’m really lucky because I’m able to be like, ‘Oh, I really like doing something like that. I really liked being on that show, that was different than I thought it would be,’ ” Rippon tells Cagle. “I’m still trying to fine-tune what I feel is an exact fit of what I want to do because there’s just so much out there.”
After returning from the Olympics, Rippon embarked on a whirlwind media tour — and even attended the Oscars alongside close friend and fellow skater Mirai Nagasu. He says he’d “love” a career similar to that of “role model” Ellen Degeneres, who had him as a guest on her show earlier this month.
“When I was young and coming out, I really looked to her story because I felt like in her career she faced … backlash for coming out and there was a push against her,” Rippon says. “She kept her head down and she worked hard and now she’s one of the most recognizable and beloved people in America.”
“I think she’s funny, I think she’s engaging,” he also says of DeGeneres, 60. “And I had the chance to meet her and be on her show and I was like, ‘I love this.’ I think she is so great and she has followed a path that I would love to follow.”
Eventually, he says, “I want people to be like, ‘Adam Rippon is hilarious and we love him and did you know that he went to the Olympics?’ “