U.S Veep Mike Pence is getting a little conversion therapy of his own at the Winter Olympics, as an out-and proud figure skater has now won a bronze medal.
It’s not quite as dramatic an Olympics moment as when black track athlete Jesse Owens put Hitler’s master race to shame at Nuremberg in 1936. But for LGBT Americans, it was certainly a blow against the Trump regime of division, prejudice and ridicule.
According to press reports, 28-year old U.S. figure skater Adam Rippon “stole the show” Monday at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea in his first Olympic win ever. NBC commentator and former Olympian Johnny Weir declared that Rippon turned in a “spellbinding” performance at the team event, and landed himself in the history books as the first openly gay athlete from the U.S. to medal in this year’s Winter Games.
As onlookers cheered, Rippon sailed in a shimmering costume (one of his trademarks) through his Coldplay-track accompanied routine and into the hearts of judges and spectators alike. Once it was all over, Rippon told NBC that “it “felt worth the 28-year wait, you know? I was sitting backstage and I thought: ‘You know what? I still feel like I might throw up. And I might miss every element in my program.’ But I said: ‘You know what? I trained so hard and I know when I get out there I’m going to go for everything, take one element at a time,’ and I was able to do that.”
Over the course of the last few days, Rippon made headlines off the ice when he took the Vice President to task for his abysmal record on LGBTQ rights. Their exchanges on social media reverberated worldwide in a verbal battle that left Rippon the odds-on favorite competitor at the Winter Games. Even actress Reese Witherspoon tweeted her support. Similarly, Rippon said he hoped to make her proud in Pyeongchang at his first Olympic competition.
He did so, while simultaneously thrilling his global network of LGBT supporters. But, he says, his medal did not come entirely without jitters. He told reporters that the pressure to perform before a worldwide audience in a one-time only attempt to win gold had him nauseated. “I want to throw up,” he said. “I want to go over to the judges and say ‘Can I just have a Xanax and a quick drink. I’ll be fine.’ But I kept it together. I just took it one element at a time.”
In the event overall, Canada bested the Olympic Athletes from Russia for the gold. When it was all over, the final results were: Canada 73, OAR, 66, and the USA, 62. The margin took some by surprise, and is considered a monumental setback for an OAR team intent on showing its disdain at the International Olympic Committee’s exclusion of the nation due to its proven state-sponsored doping program. Four years ago, Russia bested Canada for gold, and the USA landed in third place.
Last modified: March 8, 2018