The first openly-gay Winter Olympian is planning to boycott the traditional visit to the White House after the games end, protesting what he believes are homophobic policies by the Trump administration.
Sunday evening, skater Adam Rippon won a team bronze medal, and within hours, announced that he would skip the White House visit, choosing instead to “support my (gay) community.”
Rippon and other gay Olympians have been highly critical of the Trump administration and Vice President Mike Pence, whose Christian beliefs on homosexuality have made him a target. Gay Olympian Gus Kenworthy even mocked the Vice President in an Instagram post over the weekend, saying “eat your heart out Pence” as he posed with Rippon.
Skating sensation Adam Rippon put himself on a collision course with the White House on Monday after declaring he will snub President Trump’s White House party for Team USA.
The 28-year-old, who won a team bronze medal at his first Olympics on Sunday night, told Daily Mail.com that he would give the traditional gathering a miss in protest against what he sees as homophobia among the country’s leadership.
Speaking exclusively to DailyMail.com the gay athlete, who was trending worldwide as number one on Twitter after his routine, said his decision not to go would be ‘ to support my community.’
He added: ‘No. I have no desire to go to the White House. But I would like to do something to help my community.’
‘I have kind of spoken out a lot and I’d I like to do something positive and not just stay at home.’
He said this would probably mean staging an event of his own to highlight his campaign against homophobia and for gay rights.
Rippon refused to meet Vice-President Mike Pence when he visited the Olympics claiming he supported ‘homosexual conversion therapy.’
The controversy is not likely to go away and is certain to embroil President Trump when he throws his traditional bash for US Olympians.
Traditionally the President invites Olympians to a reception in Washington with former President Obama twice inviting both summer and winter athletes.
Rippon was dazzling and the pride of the party in Pyeongchang after he danced and skated through his routine as part of the Team Event to “Arrival of the Birds/Exodus” by The Cinematic Orchestra and “O” by Coldplay.
The other US members were Mirai Nagasu and brother and sister couple Alex and Maia Shibitani.
Told he had trended as number one on Twitter, he said :’I have always spoken my mind but at same I have always spoken from the heart.
‘I have a great story. I want people to get to know me, but today it is about this awesome group of people (his US team mates ).
Rippon marveled the crowd on the ice, earning a 172.98, and he finished third in his category.