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‘I’m America’s sweetheart’: Adam Rippon won bronze, but he’s a gold-medal talker

Adam Rippon and Mirai Nagasu now share two things: In-N-Out burgers and bronze medals. (Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)
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DAEGWALLYEONG, South Korea — U.S. figure skater Adam Rippon has spent much of his first week or so at these Olympics sharing his opinions and inspiring them in others. He has emerged as a fan favorite and one of the more talked-about athletes in South Korea because of his openness with his thoughts on LGBT rights, his own coming-out story, his haters and his teammates.

After skating a near-flawless free skate in the team competition, which wrapped up Monday, the 28-year-old began the run-up to his first Olympic singles competition with the news conference most athletes give before their competition. Alongside his (comparatively) stone-faced countryman, 17-year-old Vincent Zhou, Rippon provided another talk show-worthy performance Tuesday.

Adam Rippon is on an Olympics joyride

While Nathan Chen remains the U.S. figure skater to watch on the medal front, Rippon continues to make himself the skater to watch on every other front. Here are his five best quotes:

On what to do when you’re depressed:

“To watch Mirai Nagasu go out there and also skate a clean free skate … I mean, we’ve really been through a lot together. Four years ago, we were eating In-N-Out on the roof of her house in Arcadia, Calif., and we were crying that we weren’t at the Olympics. And four years later, we’re sharing an Olympic podium together. So, if you’re ever depressed, go to In-N-Out, and four years later you’ll be at the Olympics!”

On being America’s sweetheart:

“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. I think what you think of as the American people embracing — I don’t think, on paper, I embody anything of that perceived persona. I think that’s what people are latching on to — that I’m different.”

On winning over skeptics:

“People have told me, ‘Oh, you’re a lot different than what I thought.’ I say, ‘Oh, what did you think?’ They’re like, ‘Oh, we just thought you were an a——.’ I’m like, ‘Oh … yikes.’ I’m just trying to share who I am, my personality. … Sometimes I might meet people and they might just not like me, not want to get to know me. And that’s okay. They’re boring as hell anyway.”

On history:

“Vincent and I were born in different millennia. We were! I was born in the ’80s, girl. … No electronics. No phone. The Berlin Wall came down when I was, like, born. The Internet was, like, invented when Vincent was born. So we’re definitely different.”

On Oprah Winfrey:

“Sometimes when you’re not confident in yourself, to see someone who doesn’t care — and I don’t care anymore; I really don’t care — it gives you that confidence. I remember seeing people who I thought were so confident and exuberant. I remember being young and watching Oprah and being like, ‘Damn. That lady is so confident. She can talk to anybody.’ ”

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