The soundtrack is hauntingly beautiful, the sparkle from the sequins is completely hypnotic, and the performance itself is pretty much flawless. Adam Rippon's 2018 ice skating routine is a mesmerizing emotional journey from start to finish, and I'm not crying — you're crying!
As one of the first openly gay American athlete to ever compete at the Olympics (as per Vogue), 28-year-old Rippon starting making headlines before he even hit the ice. Shortly after the conclusion of his Feb. 11 free skate performance in South Korea, however, Rippon hit a whole new level of fame — and it's not hard to see why once you watch his routine.
The program opens with the delicate, ambient sounds of The Cinematic Orchestra's "Arrival of the Birds," which was combined with Coldplay's "O (Fly On)" in order to create the soporific soundscape. The sequins on Rippon's costume — semi-sheer, long-sleeved, and splattered in shades of blues and grays — glisten off the lights like a real-life Snapchat sparkle filter. Throughout the performance that follows, Rippon glides across the ice with a seemingly featherweight-ease — which makes more than a little sense, considering the meaning behind his soundtrack selection.
“One of my friends who is also a choreographer of mine sent me this song [Coldplay's "O (Fly On)"] and I was like, ‘Wow, this is really beautiful," the skater told Billboard. "Basically it was this idea that I was this bird that's the leader of the flock and I had this broken wing and toward the end I flew on."
"I had this program two years ago," Rippon continued, "and life imitates art and I broke my foot. Now when I do the program I think maybe my wing shouldn't be broken anymore. So now I'm flying through the whole thing."
According to @ColdplayAtlas — a Twitter account devoted to Coldplay news and history — the track (which was originally released on the band's 2014 album Ghost Stories) immediately began climbing the US iTunes charts after Rippon's performance, and recently peaked at #20.
Rippon beams throughout the entirety of the program, and proceeds to nail every jump he takes — including two triple axels. The whole thing is flawless, and every technical success is made even more awe-inspiring, thanks to the dramatic symphony of violins and piano. It's basically made for the movies. I, Tonya, eat your heart out.
Speaking of the movies, Rippon's already got a pretty good idea of how his story would look on the silver screen. Rippon spoke to NBC about what it's like to compete on the Olympic stage, and mentioned one very special actor in the process. "There are so many emotions when I step on the ice," he said. "I want to represent my country to the best of my abilities. I want to make Reese Witherspoon proud.”
Witherspoon had previously confessed she was a fan of Rippon's in a Feb. 7 tweet, and gave him another shout-out after his moving performance. The skater replied to the actress with a potential pitch, and now the world is anxiously awaiting her reply. "Quick movie idea for you," he tweeted. "You (played by you) tweet me in the middle of the night at the Olympics and I (played by me) die immediately. Thoughts?"
Rippon's stirring and successful skate ultimately wasn't enough to earn him first place, but it did get him a bronze medal with the United States in the team competition— which isn't too shabby for an Olympic rookie. “This is the moment I’ve been waiting for my entire life,” the 28-year-old told Time. “Now I am actually an Olympian. They have footage, they can pull it up. Let the record show that Adam Rippon is an Olympian.”
And this new Olympian will continue flying on in the individual figure skating events this week.