Rippon Changes Mind and Declines NBC Job

GTY Chris Graythen
Getty Images/Chris Graythen

Adam Rippon, frequent critic of Vice President Pence and one of the first two openly gay U.S. athletes in Winter Olympics history, has decided to turn down an offer to do television for NBC.

USA Today’s Christine Brennan had reported earlier on Sunday, that Rippon had accepted a position as a network correspondent with NBC for the duration of the games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

However, several hours later, Brennan reported that Rippon “decided overnight that he would rather remain as an Olympian.” Brennan’s source “who would not speak publicly because of the sensitivity of the matter.” Said that Rippon did not “want to relinquish his official Olympic standing, give up credential, move out of Team USA housing and miss [the] closing ceremony.”

Rippon told NBCSN via USA Today, “I am so flattered that NBC wanted me to work as a correspondent, but if I took this opportunity, I would have to leave the Olympic team and I would have to leave the [Olympic] Village. It’s so important to me, 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.”

Rippon has been an extremely vocal critic of Vice President Pence.

Rippon has also said he will not visit the White House after the Olympics. Instead, the skater says that he would rather do something to “help my community.”

Rippon immediately began his one-sided feud with Vice President Pence, after it was announced that the VP would lead the U.S. delegation to the the Winter Olympics.

Rippon accused the VP of advocating for the funding of gay conversion therapy, based on a vague reference on Pence’s website, which did not specifically mention conversion therapy.

While there’s some dispute over the reasoning, Rippon then declined to meet with Pence when the VP offered to sit down and discuss the issue. Rippon and fellow gay athlete Gus Kenworthy then posted a picture of them both in their Team USA gear, with a caption that read: “Eat your heart out, Pence:”

However, recently, Rippon has dialed-back his criticisms of Pence. Telling reporters that he did not want the vice president becoming the story of his Olympics.

“I have no problem talking about what I’ve said because I stand by it, but I think right now the Olympics are about Olympic competition and the athletes involved. I don’t want it to distract from them, and I don’t want my Olympic experience to be about Mike Pence. I want it to be about my amazing skating and being America’s sweetheart.”

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