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Adam Rippon Is Retiring from Competitive Skating

Adam Rippon Is Retiring from Competitive Skating

Adam Rippon Is Retiring from Competitive Skating

The Olympic bronze medalist looked back on his "crazy, wild, emotional" career in an inspiring video for CBS.


It's the end of an era and the start of a new one for openly gay Olympian Adam Rippon, who made a long-expected announcement to CBS News that his days as a competitive figure skater are over.

In a video for CBS This Morning's Emmy-nominated series Note to Self, the 29-year-old athlete looks back on a career and an Olympic experience that he describes as "crazy, wild, emotional and very exciting."

Addressing his younger self in 2013 when he placed a career-worst eighth place at Nationals, Rippon says, "You've just missed qualifying for the Olympic team for the second time in a row. You feel confused and you feel like a failure. It might not make sense right now, but this is truly one of the most important moments of your life."

He reminisces on the early days of his career, taking the Greyhound bus from Scranton to Philadelphia at age 13 to go to practice, living with different families away from home, and at one point being so broke that he had to choose between buying groceries and paying for ice time.

"Now listen—this part is important," he says. "Stand up, 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 start to learn what being a winner is. Being a winner is a mindset."

It was this determination that would lead Rippon to become a National Champion at age 26, and to overcome breaking his foot in 2017 to qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, North Korea, where he won a bronze medal in the figure skating team event.

In his video, he talks about coming out as gay to his family and friends and then to the world, making him the first openly gay man to compete for the U.S. in the Winter Olympics, and a charismatic role model for countless young people. "You will hope to give someone else what you didn't feel growing up: permission to be themselves. You will be saying, 'You are worthy.'"

"Oh," he adds. "And when you wax your eyebrows, start talking about how great they look. It’ll be a hit."

As Rippon's competitive figure skating career comes to an end, he's charging full-speed into an entertainment career that already includes winning Dancing With the Stars: Athletes, becoming a judge for Dancing With the Stars: Juniors, working red carpets for Good Morning America, and landing a cameo appearance in an episode of Will & Grace airing later this month.

"Now go on and conquer the world," he tells himself.

Watch Adam Rippon's Note to Self video below!

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Christine Linnell