If there was anyone who didn’t know Adam Rippon going into the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, that wasn’t the case for long.
And while Rippon announced the end of his competitive figure skating career on Tuesday, fans old and new will no doubt see his unique personality and sense of humor on display in other places.
As part of his retirement announcement, the 29-year-old wrote a letter to his younger self, reflecting back on his journey to this point. He mentioned the pain of missing two Olympic teams, then his coming out in 2015, to finally achieving his Olympic dream.
“You, Adam, will make the Olympic team and skate on Olympic ice, it'll be a moment you've been waiting for your entire life,” Rippon said. “It'll be crazy, wild, emotional and very exciting. The world will see your character and they will embrace you for just being yourself.”
Rippon made history in PyeongChang by becoming the first openly gay U.S. man to win a Winter Games medal, doing so with bronze in the team event. A national champion in 2016, he also was the only man to win consecutive world junior titles, doing so in 2008 and 2009. He was an alternate for the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team, and narrowly missed the team in 2014.
But he never gave up on the Games, despite suffering a broken foot one year out from PyeongChang. Rippon was the oldest U.S. singles skater to make his Olympic debut in 82 years.
Addressing retirement rumors in June, Rippon said he was looking forward to opportunities outside skating, including serving as a judge on the junior edition of “Dancing with the Stars.” Rippon competed on the show’s 26th season earlier this year, and won with partner Jenna Johnson.
Rippon took to Twitter to address the retirement Tuesday, saying of his future plans: “I’m traveling (what feels like almost every day), working all the time, enjoying every second of my new life, and feel so lucky for all the opportunities I’ve been given. Thank you for rooting for someone like me. I will always root for you too.”