"All figure skaters are beautiful, but Adam Rippon is different," Cher writes in her TIME 100 profile of the Olympian

By Cher
April 19, 2018 02:14 PM

All figure skaters are beautiful, but Adam Rippon is different. He isn’t just a beautiful skater. He has humility, grace and an incredible sense of humor.

You could see in the leather-harness suit he wore to the Academy Awards that he isn’t afraid to take chances. It wasn’t about the suit, really. It was about the fact that he dares to be different in a world where being different always comes with a cost. I thought it was fabulous, of course.

Adam is a skater who happens to be gay, and that represents something wonderful to young people. When I was young, I had no role models—everyone looked like Sandra Dee and Doris Day. There was nobody who made me think, Oh, I could be like them. They represent me.

Valery Sharifulin/TASS/Getty

Adam shows people that if you put blood, sweat and tears into what you’re doing, you can achieve something that’s special. You can be special. And I think that’s very brave.

Cher is a Grammy-winning singer and an Oscar-winning actor

See TIME’s full list of the 100 Most Influential People of 2018

This article originally appeared on Time.com