Adam Rippon announces retirement from competitive figure skating

PyeongChang 2018 Olympic medallist will "stay involved" in the sport but no longer compete at the top level

Olympic medallist Adam Rippon has announced his retirement from figure skating, according to CBS News.

The 29-year-old, who became the first openly gay American athlete to qualify for the Winter Olympics, confirmed that he will no longer skate competitively and then reflected on his "wild, emotion journey" through a video note to his younger self.

Rippon's Rise

Rippon started skating when he was 10 years old.

He won back-to-back World Junior Championship titles in 2008 and 2009, and the Four Continents Figure Skating Championship in 2010.

But his dream was always to compete at the Olympics.

The Pennsylvania native missed out on qualification for Sochi 2014, and was close to quitting the sport.

But he decided to persevere and went on to win the U.S. title in January 2016.

A year later Rippon broke his foot. Once again he didn't give up, and worked hard on his recovery.

His perseverance was rewarded with a fourth placed finish at the 2018 U.S. National Championships.

It was enough to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic team for PyeongChang, where he won team bronze and finished 10th in the Men's event.

His star shines bright

Rippon is no stranger to the spotlight.

In October 2015, his sexuality took center stage after he openly declared that he was gay.

After his inspiring performances on and off the ice at PyeongChang 2018, Rippon went from figure skater to prime time personality.

Having been described as "America's sweetheart" at the Winter Games, his popularity soared in May as he went on to beat former figure skater Tonya Harding to become the sixth Olympian to win the "Dancing with the Stars" television series."

Rumours about Rippon's retirement have been rife ever since.

In June he had said that he had “a lot of opportunities” to explore outside of skating.

He’s currently a judge on “Dancing with the Stars: Juniors, which premiered in October and will run until early December.

Rippon has also been using his stardom to advocate equality and received the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Visibility Award in March, where he delivered an emotional acceptance speech.

His latest video message to his younger self, while revealing his retirement, is equally moving.

It's a message of encouragement, a lesson in perseverance, and a reflection of his journey to-date:

"Walk to a mirror, look yourself straight in the eye and tell yourself: you are a winner. You won't see one looking back at you yet, but do this every day and you'll really start to learn what being a winner is. Being a winner is a mindset." - Adam Rippon in a message to his younger self.

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