Adam Rippon Confirms He's Retiring from Competitive Skating: I'm Going to 'Conquer the World'
Adam Rippon is hanging up his skates.
The 29-year-old athlete confirmed during the CBS This Morning series, Note to Self, that he does not plan to skate competitively anymore.
In the clip, the Olympic bronze medalist reflected on his athletic career — failures and all — as he skated around Skylands Ice World in New Jersey.
“You are going through a really tough time right now. You’ve just missed qualifying for the Olympic team for the second time in a row. You feel confused and you feel like a failure. It might not make sense right now, but this is truly one of the most important moments in your life. Take a moment and be proud of yourself,” Rippon said, addressing his past self.
He went on to recall financial struggles as part of his commitment to skating. Only a few months ago, Rippon said, he had to choose between paying for groceries and paying for ice time. As a kid, he lived with his coach for several months and regularly took the bus from Scranton, Pennsylvania — his hometown — to Philadelphia to practice.
“You work so hard, but you are even harder on yourself,” he mused. “Now, listen, this part is important: Stand up, walk to a mirror, look yourself straight in the eye and tell yourself, ‘You are a winner.’ You won’t see one looking back at you yet, but do this every day and you’ll really start to learn what being a winner is. Being a winner is a mindset.”
As one of the first openly gay Olympians, he also shared his coming out story.
“You’ve come out to your friends and family a few years ago and it made you feel so free, like you’ve grown wings,” he said. “Do you remember growing up in Pennsylvania, thinking that being gay was something you would never tell anyone? When you publicly come out in the next year, you will let go of what other people think of you. You will hope to give someone else what you didn’t feel growing up: permission to be themselves. You will be saying: ‘You are worthy.’ ”
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Addressing his time in South Korea earlier this year, he said, “You, Adam, will make the Olympic team and skate on Olympic ice, it’ll be a moment you’ve been waiting for your entire life. It’ll be crazy, wild, emotional and very exciting. The world will see your character and they will embrace you for just being yourself.”
Looking toward the future, he told himself, “You’ve challenged yourself and taken risks. You make people around you laugh, and help them like who they are. You’ve become the role model that you wished you’d had as a kid. You will look in the mirror and you will see someone you like. You will look in the mirror and finally see a winner looking back at you. Now go out and conquer the world.”
Rippon shared the clip on Twitter, adding, “I love my skating family so much and am so grateful to everyone I have met. I have been and can’t wait to continue to cheer for everyone ON AND OFF the ice! I love you, guys.”
He added, “One last thing: If you thought I was going to continue competing after the Olympics I will have a drink for you tonight because you are out of your mind crazy and I admire your optimism and love you with my full heart.”
In addition to plenty of time on TV, one of Rippon’s upcoming journeys may involve a political career. In October, he told PEOPLE, “I’ve always thought maybe one day I would run for office … I don’t know if I will, but I will always be involved in politics. It affects all of our lives, and it’s so important to be involved.”