Tag Archives: Debut

Adam Rippon Jokes About Twitter's Love for Him After Olympic Debut: 'Maybe You Can Be on a Judging Panel Someday'

Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon loves Twitter — and it loves him right back.

Minutes after a free skate in the figure skating team event on Monday morning at the Winter Games in South Korea and Rippon, 28, was already a trending topic on the site in the U.S., with users alternately basking in his third-place finish and confusedly wondering how he came in behind Mikhail Kolyada, the Olympic athlete from Russia.

Less than a point separated them (though to judge solely by the audience’s reaction in the 12,000-seat Gangneung Ice Arena, Rippon appeared to have the more compelling skate).

“I can’t control the score,” Rippon, 28, tells PEOPLE not long after leaving the rink. “But to the people that were distressed — I hope maybe you can be on a judging panel someday.”

Keep Following PEOPLE’s Complete Coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics

Speaking to reporters after he competed, Rippon said he was proud of his Olympic debut, both for himself and for what it contributed to America’s chances of a podium spot in the team event.

“I’m really excited that I was able to kind of go out there, show who I am, skate so strong,” he said, “and more than that, I really hope I can help Team USA get a medal today.”

Skating first to The Cinematic Orchestra’s “Arrival of the Birds” and then to “O” by Coldplay, and while he admitted to an attack of nerves just before taking the ice, Rippon seemed to skate without a hitch. As he finished, to waves of applause from the crowd, the moment caught up with him and celebration broke across his face.

“I hope there’s a skating judge who’s like, ‘Uh hey guys, Adam Rippon didn’t give us quads but he did give us THE TRUTH,’ ” writer Louis Virtel tweeted.

RELATED VIDEO: Kids Interview the 2018 Winter Olympic Athletes

In recent days Rippon has become something of a social media sensation, both among spectators at home and celebrities (including Reese Witherspoon) who are charmed by his drive, wit and candor.

An alternate at the 2010 Winter Games who missed the cut in 2014, and already a history-maker for being the first openly gay athlete to ever compete for America in the Winter Olympics, Rippon said later that what he has accomplished in spite of his age — skating, as ever, privileges youth — and other obstacles is a victory he will never lose.

He has also not shied away from the role fame gives him as an advocate for the broader LGBTQ community.

PEOPLE’s special issue The Best of Olympic Figure Skating is available now in the Time Inc. store, on Amazon and wherever magazines are sold.

“I came here to do a job,” he said, “and I think that being vocal has kind of given my skating more importance. It’s not just for me. I got out there because — it’s not just gay kids, I think that everybody can relate to being different or feeling like they’re not good enough or they’ll never make it because they’re from a small town, or maybe they just don’t feel like they’re good enough.”

“Well I had those doubts too,” Rippon continued. “And I say that I can go out there and I want to show those young kids that anything is possible. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what other people say about you, you can put that all behind you and you can go out there and show the world what you have to offer.”

And while he joked with PEOPLE about his impending individual mens performance (“I definitely want to get a few more points, talk to those people on Twitter”), he did not let the significance of the day slip past him.

“This is a moment I’ve been waiting for my entire life,” he said. “Now I’m actually an Olympian. They have footage, they can pull it up. We love the records. Let the record show: Adam Rippon is an Olympian.”

The 2018 Winter Olympics are airing live on NBC. To learn more, visit teamusa.org.

Figure Skater Adam Rippon Jokes About His Teeth Bleaching Ahead of Olympic Debut

When figure skater Adam Rippon competes in his first Winter Olympics on Monday in South Korea, the smile he flashes may look a little shinier than normal — with good reason.

“I’ve been bleaching my teeth for the past few days and now the wind that I create from just talking makes them hurt,” he tweeted on Sunday. “Like, I think this is a sign that I’m officially ready for my Olympic debut.”

Rippon, 28, is the first openly gay athlete to qualify for Team USA in a Winter Games. He is also something of a noted Twitter aficionado, mixing on his timeline jokes, gratitude, shade and shout-outs to the celebrities for whom he has become a breakout star.

Sharing a recent piece about him in GQhe wrote of one of the photos accompanying the article: “I’m sitting in a Kohl’s parking lot bush. With the lights from the Taco Bell next door twinkling in my eye, Ryan Pfluger has never made me feel more beautiful.”

In an interview with the magazine, he said, “I’m proud of a lot of things I’ve said on Twitter.”

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Rippon, a former national champion, will compete in the men’s free skate during the figure skating team competition Monday. Joining him from Team USA will be Mirai Nagasu and ice dancing siblings Alex and Maia Shibutani.

While he was briefly involved in a dispute with Vice President Mike Pence, Rippon has said in recent days he is focused on competing, and he appears to be soaking up the pageantry and goodwill of the Games.

Walking during the opening ceremony, he shared a photo with freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy, another openly gay athlete. (Kenworthy previously told PEOPLE he and Rippon were “excited to hang out and kiki in Korea.”)

Keep Following PEOPLE’s Complete Coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics

Not long after the Olympics opened, Rippon wrote — on Twitter, of course — that “tonight I walked in the #OpeningCeremony and got to watch my old friend @Yunaaaa light the Olympic flame.”

“Representing the USA is one of the greatest honors of my life,” he continued, “and being able to do it as my authentic self makes it all so much sweeter.”

The 2018 Winter Olympics are airing live on NBC. To learn more, visit teamusa.org.

Unknown a Year Ago, Figure Skater Bradie Tennell Makes Her Olympic Debut — and Earns a Season-Best

Bradie Tennell just — does — not — fall.

And she didn’t fall this time either: the 20-year-old made her Olympic debut on Sunday morning in the figure skating team event at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. (Just as she began, a small child was heard chanting “USA, USA, USA.”)

Skating third in the ladies’ short program at the Gangneung Ice Arena, Tennell quickly leapt to the top of the leaderboard with as technically confident a skate as she has given all season.

“I’m really happy,” she told reporters, all smiles, after competing. “I don’t think I could have asked for a better first program at the Olympics.”

Tennell’s total score of 68.94 was her best all year and kept her in the No. 1 spot for much of the competition, until a succession of skaters from Canada, Italy, Japan and Russia bumped her to fifth — but still good enough to keep the U.S. in third overall at the team event as they head into the second half.

She was hamstrung by the component score of her program, which measures skating ability, performance and interpretation, among other elements. But her technical score alone — that is, how she executed elements of her short program such as her jumps — was the second best of the group, behind only Russia.

Asked what she was thinking just before she began to skate, she tells PEOPLE: “‘You’ve done this program a million times, it’s just a million and one.’ ”

Ever focused and succinct, she says there was no thought to how she might juice up the artistic parts of her program: “No, you know here when I’m competing, I just go on autopilot. I compete like I train.”

“I get butterflies right before my music starts, but then when my music starts I kind of go on autopilot and just lose myself,” she told reporters, noting that it “felt like I was doing another program at a practice session.” (Beforehand, Tennell was seen listening to what she later explained was a mix of ’80s rock songs — some of her favorites — such as AC/DC and Boston.)

Tennell’s mother, Jean Tennell, watched her from the arena seating though they had not yet met up when Bradie spoke with reporters after her skate. “But I know she’s here supporting me,” Bradie said.

Keep Following PEOPLE’s Complete Coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics

Essentially an unknown to the broader public a year ago, Bradie, a native of the Chicago area, made her first big splash in the sport with a third-place finish at Skate America in November. She followed that up in January with a first-place victory at the national skating championships, making her one of Team USA’s best shots at a medal in figure skating this year.

“I was injured the past two years, so it really took a toll on my skating and my consistency,” she said on Sunday, adding, “Now being healthy this entire year has really made a huge difference.”

Mom Jean, a nurse, was crucial as she healed, Bradie said: “When I was down, she was there to pick me up, and her support really got me through that.”

Did Bradie ever doubt, amidst her injury, that she would see success?

“No. Never.”

Ice Dancing Siblings Alex and Maia Shibutani Earn Audience Raves at Their 2018 Olympic Debut

To audible audience joy, siblings Alex and Maia Shibutani skated to second place in the short dance at the first half of the 2018 Winter Olympics‘ figure skating team event on Sunday morning. But they left the rink a little disappointed with their scores, they told reporters.

Speaking to PEOPLE minutes after leaving the ice, Alex, 26, reflected on the craziness of competing on an Olympic staged, watched by the world.

“We just saw Hoda and Al from the Today show sitting in the crowd and we’re like, ‘Oh this is cool, like they’re not at every competition we do,’ ” he says. “We saw Michelle Kwan sitting in the stands with her mom.”

“We see faces in the crowd that we recognize and that’s special,” Alex tells PEOPLE. “I think a lot of athletes, well I can’t speak for everyone, but some people are really in the zone and we know how to be in the zone while also embracing  the moment and looking around us and having these memories that we’ll have for the rest of our lives. … It’s just a special feeling and to be out there the two of us, that’s always special wherever we are.”

Keep Following PEOPLE’s Complete Coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics

Alex and younger sister Maia, 23, dominated nearly all of their competitors at the short dance portion of the team event in Gangneung, South Korea, on Friday morning (which was aired live in primetime in the U.S., on NBC).

Performing seventh out of 10, their total score of 75.46 shot them more than 10 points ahead of second place at the time they skated, and the crowd had clearly been won over by the end. Then Italy, Canada, and the Olympic athletes from Russia, competing in the eighth, ninth and 10th slots, also made a strong showing — but the “Shib sibs” held on, ultimately coming in behind only Canadians Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue.

“Yeah, I thought we brought it,” Alex told reporters after skating.

Maia echoed that, saying:

“I mean the audience, you guys can hear it, they’re amazing. The energy is unlike any other event we’ve bene in. So I feel like Alex and I really just took the time to enjoy the moment and I’m really proud of the skating we showed today.”

It was good enough to keep Team USA in the top five, meaning they will likely qualify for the second half of the event when the men, women, pairs and ice dancers from the top five countries so far will all perform their free skate or dance.

Still, despite that success, Alex said they were “a little surprised by the score, to be honest.”

He explained: “We’ve been accustomed to receiving stronger scores with skates that maybe weren’t even as strong as today’s, so we’ll have to go back and see what the panel saw and how they determined our scores.”

“So that’s a little bit disappointing — but overall we’re just so psyched with our skate, and that’s what we came here to do and looking forward to the rest of the competition,” Alex said.

The figure skating team event continues Friday morning with ladies singles, including a short program from American teen Bradie Tennell, who has shot from relative obscurity to Olympian in a matter of months.

Moyes talks about possibility of Evra debut for West Ham against Watford

Playing

David Moyes has claimed he may well go ahead and play Patrice Evra when West Ham United take on Watford this weekend in the Premier League.

The Hammers boss has noted in his column for the Standard Sport that Evra may have been out of the game for some time, but that he’s ready to go – and very fit, having been with his fitness coach in Dubai for the last month and working hard alone in the gym before that.

With both sides in the relegation battle, it’s vital the Hammers get all three points, and both clubs know that a string of wins can lift you up the table, with Watford now being as close to the drop as they are to the seventh placed side in the table.

Moyes lavished praise on Evra, and wrote:  “He has trained with the first team for the past couple of days and done well but there’s a big difference between training and playing a match and, to be fair, the training we do at this time of the year isn’t at a massive level of intensity because we’re trying to save the players’ energy for the games.

From what I’ve seen over the past day or two, I would have to say he’s not far away from playing. I’m not sure whether I would throw him in straight away but it’s something I am considering.

The big thing for me is that he is someone who so many players have — and will — look up to because of what he has achieved. He’s a good talker, he’s played for some of the best clubs in the world and with some of the best players.”

Professionalism

One of the qualities which Moyes saw in Evra during their short time at Manchester United together – and one which he wanted to make sure was brought into West Ham was the level of professionalism shown by the left back.

Moyes claimed that’s something Evra can get to rub off on other players, and it will certainly benefit the side to have him around them – even just in training.

“Pat’s level of professionalism is very high and I want that to rub off on some of our other players. I want them to see what they have to do to get to the very top.

He and Pablo Zabaleta are two great examples of players who have played at the top end of this sport and have won things throughout their careers.”