Adam Rippon Won’t Be An NBC Olympics Correspondent After All — Here’s Why He Changed His Mind
Just hours after news broke that he would take on a new role as an NBC Olympic commentator, Adam Rippon says he decided not to fill the position. In an interview with NBC, Rippon explained that he wasn't quite ready to give up being an Olympic athlete just yet.
"I am so flattered that NBC wanted me to work as a correspondent," he said. "But if I took this opportunity, I would have to leave the Olympic team and I'd have to leave the village."
But his decision to not work for NBC wasn't just related to his own desire to live it up as an elite athlete. It also had to do with the people he's been competing with. He elaborated:
And you know, it's so important to me that, you know, I worked so hard to be on this Olympic team. And my teammates and my friends were there for me during my events, and that meant so much to me that I really feel like I need to be there for them during their events, as well.
So, while Rippon isn't giving broadcast reporting a go right now, he's also not going anywhere any time soon.
Rippon has enjoyed a tremendous amount of spotlight at PyeongChang, becoming an immediate fan favorite, and not only for his routinely flawless skate routines. Rippon's candid, often humorous, interviews and social media presence have also garnered the athlete a massive amount of attention.
After receiving a supportive tweet from pop star Britney Spears, for example, Rippon responded, "I now have an OVERWHELMING desire to post Instagram fashion shows, Google stock imagines of corn, and paint on the balcony of my dorm in the Olympic Village," — a direct allusion to the singer's Instagram feed.
Similarly, Rippon has been a reliably comical interview subject for journalists covering the Olympics. When asked about his post-Olympic plans on Good Morning America, for example, he responded:
"I'm going to go to Target, and I'm going to get a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc Oyster Bay with the twist top. Yeah. Uh-huh. Immediately. You can come right over. I live like 15 minutes from LAX and we can just have a day." With such a reputation for comedic quips, fans were understandably excited about the prospect of Rippon transition into a commentating role.
For all of the fanfare, Rippon has, at times, been controversial. Before the PyeongChang Games even opened, the skater found himself in a small press battle with Vice President Mike Pence. When asked in an interview with USA Today, what he thought about Pence leading Team U.S.A. into the Olympic opening ceremony, Rippon offered a rhetorical shrug.
"You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy? I’m not buying it." (Press Secretary Alyssa Farah responded that the "accusation is totally false and has no basis in fact.")
Rippon was referring to a piece of Pence's 2000 congressional campaign website, which many during the 2016 presidential election interpreted as a show of support for sexual orientation changing therapy. At the time, the website reportedly said that, "resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior."
Pence responded to Rippon's comments, tweeting on Feb. 8, ".@Adaripp I want you to know we are FOR YOU. Don’t let fake news distract you. I am proud of you and ALL OF OUR GREAT athletes and my only hope for you and all of #TeamUSA is to bring home the gold. Go get ‘em!"
Politics aside, however, viewers can't seem to get enough of Rippon. Even if he won't be taking a position at NBC in the immediate future, chances are that he will pop up in the press at least a few times more before the closing ceremony.