Well, at least NBC will still be able to interview Adam Rippon, right? In a reversal of news she had broken earlier on Sunday, USA Today’s Christine Brennan reported that the figure skater will not, after all, take a job with the network as a correspondent for the rest of the Winter Olympics.
Rippon “decided overnight that he would rather remain as an Olympian,” Brennan reported, citing a source “who would not speak publicly because of the sensitivity of the matter.” She said he did not “want to relinquish his official Olympic standing, give up credential, move out of Team USA housing and miss [the] closing ceremony.”
“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,” Rippon said Sunday on NBCSN (via USA Today). “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.”
An openly gay skater who helped the United States win a bronze medal in team competition, Rippon became one of the biggest breakout stars at PyeongChang not just for his athletic exploits but for saying things that have been at turns smart, creative and refreshing for viewers. NBC had confirmed the news of its hiring of the 28-year-old Pennsylvania native, but he apparently had a change of heart.
Hiring Rippon would not have come without controversy for NBC. He is at odds with Vice President Pence over gay rights and has said he will not go with the U.S. team to visit President Trump if invited to the White House.
Rippon has been a must-see as an interview subject, whether he’s speaking about being bullied as a kid or just kidding around. It is, as he has said, “really fun to be me,” and that has been clear from his very first TV moments. Here’s a quick look at some of his greatest hits so far:
There’s his minty-fresh self-awareness.
“The other day I was joking to one of my friends. He was like, ‘You’re kind of everywhere right now.’ I was like, ‘I know; I’m America’s sweetheart.’ He laughed in my face.” — Washington Post
His Reese Witherspoon obsession runs deep.
“There are so many emotions when I step on the ice. I want to represent my country to the best of my abilities. I want to make Reese Witherspoon proud.” — NBC
“On the spectrum from Reese Witherspoon to Elmo, I’m like excited at about a Meryl Streep. Does that make sense?” — NBC
His post-Olympic plans are very solid.