After making headlines for a back-and-forth feud with Vice President Mike Pence over gay rights, U.S. Olympic skater Adam Rippon made his debut on Pyeongchang Winter Olympics ice on Sunday (Feb. 11). The 28-year-old Pennsylvania-born athlete skated to Coldplay’s “O” from 2014’s Ghost Stories and the Cinematic Orchestra’s 2008 track “Arrival of the Birds” during the Men’s Free Skate portion of the team event, earning eight points for Team USA. He finished third in the five-person competition.
Rippon’s program was a gorgeous, elegant, technically impressive and clean affair, showing off his masterful control of his movements and his subdued but undeniable artistic flair. Watch part of it below.
ADAM RIPPON. Because he slays. #WinterOlympics https://t.co/fmMl0C4Amf pic.twitter.com/fkG1KgiTb0
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 12, 2018
After skating, Rippon spoke to NBC and gave a hysterical endorsement of the Olympic experience, heartily endorsing it to anyone sitting at home who might be on the fence about competing in the Olympic Games.
“Is it what you thought it would be or more?” NBC’s Andrea Joyce asked him. “Andrea, it’s like, pretty awesome, I highly recommend it,” Rippon replied, looking directly into the camera. “If you ever have the option, come to the Olympics, it’s like a fun time.”
@Adaripp is an artist on ice and a hysterical interviewee pic.twitter.com/C2UlHRIVL8
— Joe Lynch (@branniganlynch) February 12, 2018
In a later interview, Rippon joked about wanting to ask the judges for some liquid courage the second he hit the ice: “I want to throw up, I want to go over to the judges and say ‘can I just have a Xanax and a quick drink?’”
2018 marks the first Winter Olympics where singles and pairs skaters can compete to songs with words, which allowed Rippon the opportunity to perform alongside Chris Martin’s voice.
“When they allowed vocals to be used in competition I was like, ‘If we have this new rule I am going to go and utilize it!’ It really opened the door for somebody like me to go out there and try to change it up a little bit,” Rippon previously told Billboard, explaining the Coldplay song has a personal significance.
“One of my friends who is also a choreographer of mine sent me this song and I was like, ‘Wow, this is really beautiful.’ Basically it was this idea that I was this bird that’s the leader of the flock and I had this broken wing and toward the end I flew on,” Rippon explains. “I had this program two years ago, and life imitates art and I broke my foot. Now when I do the program I think maybe my wing shouldn’t be broken anymore. So now I’m flying through the whole thing. Chris Martin has this voice that resonates through a whole arena.”