Skating sensation Adam Rippon put himself on a collision course with the White House on Monday after declaring he will snub President Trump’s White House party for Team USA.
The 28-year-old, who won a team bronze medal at his first Olympics on Sunday night, told Daily Mail.com that he would give the traditional gathering a miss in protest against what he sees as homophobia among the country’s leadership.
Speaking exclusively to DailyMail.com the gay athlete, who was trending worldwide as number one on Twitter after his routine, said his decision not to go would be ‘ to support my community.’
He added: ‘No. I have no desire to go to the White House. But I would like to do something to help my community.’
‘I have kind of spoken out a lot and I’d I like to do something positive and not just stay at home.’
He said this would probably mean staging an event of his own to highlight his campaign against homophobia and for gay rights.
Rippon refused to meet Vice-President Mike Pence when he visited the Olympics claiming he supported ‘homosexual conversion therapy.’
The controversy is not likely to go away and is certain to embroil President Trump when he throws his traditional bash for US Olympians.
Traditionally the President invites Olympians to a reception in Washington with former President Obama twice inviting both summer and winter athletes.
Rippon was dazzling and the pride of the party in Pyeongchang after he danced and skated through his routine as part of the Team Event to “Arrival of the Birds/Exodus” by The Cinematic Orchestra and “O” by Coldplay.
The other US members were Mirai Nagasu and brother and sister couple Alex and Maia Shibitani.
Told he had trended as number one on Twitter, he said: ’I have always spoken my mind but at same I have always spoken from the heart.
‘I have a great story. I want people to get to know me, but today it is about this awesome group of people (his US teammates ).
Rippon marveled the crowd on the ice, earning a 172.98, and he finished third in his category.
He proved he had come a long way since he started skating in 1999 after seeing a local competition.
His mother took him along to a rink and he declared: ‘He didn’t really like it at first, but grew to love it.’
His ambition was to compete at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang and trained for 29 hours a week in Lakewood, California.
In preparation for South Korea, he revealed: ‘I packed every healing crystal I could.’
He revealed his philosophy is this: ‘I take whatever situation I’m in, and I spin it like it’s the most positive thing that’s ever happened to me.’
Nagasu began skating at age five in Pasadena, California, trained for 23 hours a week in Colorado Springs before Korea.
Her parents emigrated to the United States of America from Japan. She was a dual citizen up until age 22, as Japan does not allow dual citizenship after that age.
She chose to keep her US citizenship. She revealed that four years ago she and Adam were in a dark place’ as they sat together depressed that they hadn’t made the US team for Sochi and the 2014 Olympics.
The third successive team was the Shibutanis who trained for 50 hours a week in Canton, Michigan.
The siblings nicknamed the ‘Shibsibs ‘began competing together in 2004. Their nickname comes from shortened versions of ‘Shibutani’ and ‘siblings’.
The pair made their Olympic debut in 2014 when they finished ninth, and in seven world championship appearances, they have won two bronze and one silver medal. They took the Four Continents title in 2016 and finished in second place in 2017.
Canada took team gold and the Russians secured silver.
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