Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon has reportedly declined an offer to join NBC as an Olympic correspondent for the remainder of the games in PyeongChang.


After initially agreeing to the gig, Rippon later decided not to join on with NBC because it would mean having to leave the Olympic village. “I’m 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, I’d have to leave the village,” the skater told NBCSN in an interview Monday in South Korea. “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 means so much to me, that I really feel like I need to be here for them during their events.”

Earlier that day, NBC spokesman Greg Hughes reported that Rippon had accepted and would join the NBC reporting team. According to USA Today‘s Christine Brennan, had Rippon fully accepted, he would have been stripped of his Olympic credentials, had to relinquish his status as an Olympian and would not have been able to march with Team USA during the closing ceremony.

Despite not winning any individual event medals, Rippon has made headlines as the 28-year-old gay figure skater who poured out his heart on the ice. His routines helped boost the American figure skating team to a bronze medal, but Rippon was unable to best his younger opponents in the individuals events.

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“I think I’ve shown the world that I’m a fierce competitor,” he said, adding, “but I think I’ve shown them that I’m also a fierce human being.”

Rippon and skier Gus Kenworthy are the USA’s only two openly gay male athletes at these Olympics, and the pair have showed LGBTQ pride on their social media pages. About his legacy, however, Rippon has said, “I’m not like a gay icon, or America’s gay sweetheart. I’m just America’s sweetheart and I’m just an icon.”

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