Adam Rippon celebrates after competing at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on Feb. 12, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea.
With his theatric skating and earnest interviews, Adam Rippon captured the world’s attention when he helped the U.S. figure skating team earn an Olympic bronze medal this past February in PyeongChang, in the process becoming the first openly gay U.S. male athlete to win an Olympic medal. The 28-year-old Rippon then went on to become the first openly gay celebrity to win “Dancing with the Stars.”
Now Rippon, who was also one of two first openly gay U.S. winter Olympian, is one of seven U.S. Olympians on the preliminary list of nominees for “Game Changer in 2018” at the People’s Choice Awards. Rippon is also nominated in the “Competition Contestant” category for his performance on DWTS.
Fan voting is open for these and 41 other categories on the event’s website. Five finalists for each category will be announced Sept. 24, at which point polls will reopen for the final votes.
The 44th edition of the People’s Choice Awards airs Nov. 11 on the E! network.
Want to learn to curl like the pros? Looking for breaking news, videos, Olympic and Paralympic team bios all at your fingertips? Download the Team USA app today.
In addition to Rippon, fellow 2018 Olympian Chloe Kim is nominated under “Game Changer.” At 17, the Korean-American snowboarder won the women’s halfpipe event in PyeongChang.
Olympic and world gymnastics champions Simone Biles and Aly Raisman were nominated. Biles, who returned from a post-Olympic break to win the national title in dominant fashion last month, and Raisman were members of the winning 2016 Olympic team. Raisman, who is also a three-time 2012 Olympic medalist, has become a vocal advocate for sexual abuse victims within the sport.
Serena Williams, who gave birth to her first child one year ago and goes for the US Open women’s title this weekend, is the lone tennis nominee. Already a four-time Olympic champion, Williams is aiming for her record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title.
Basketball stars LeBron James and Kevin Durant round out the Olympian nominees. James, a three-time Olympian and two-time gold medalist, led the Cleveland Cavaliers to their fourth NBA Finals in a row this summer, and then opened the I PROMISE School, a public elementary school for at-risk children in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.
Durant, whose Golden State Warriors beat James’ Cavs for the second year in a row, was the NBA Finals MVP for the second year in a row. He is a 2012 and 2016 Olympic champion.
Olympics superfan and “Saturday Night Live” star Leslie Jones is nominated under the “Comedy Act” category.
Chrös McDougall has covered the Olympic movement for TeamUSA.org since 2009 on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. He is based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.