At 28, Adam Rippon is about to take to the ice for his first Winter Olympics -- which in some Olympic competitions is practically retirement age. But as the 2016 U.S. national champion from Scranton, Pennsylvania, is poised to be the first openly gay American athlete to qualify for a Winter Olympics gets ready to show the world what he has in Pyeongchang, South Korea, he says one of the things he has to thank for making it to his dream competition is music.
Rippon -- who was born with severe hearing loss and underwent surgery before his first birthday to correct the issue -- will be one of the most exciting and entertaining skaters to watch when the competition on the ice kicks off Feb. 15 with the Men's Short Program. He'll be skating after becoming the first man to win back-to-back world junior championship titles in 2008 and 2009, only to finish eighth at nationals in 2014. His journey took another detour while prepping to defend his 2016 U.S. national title when he broke his foot and had to sit that one out. But after training as hard as ever during a 12-week recovery, Rippon was back in the mix after finishing fourth at the 2018 nationals.