What Would Adam Rippon Do?
With the 2018 Winter Olympics in full swing, or maybe it’s over already, I don’t know, we’re reminded there’s nothing more American than winning.
These athletes become American heroes, set up in story arcs to overcome battles to achieve the ultimate goal of winning medals, securing corporate sponsorships, and establishing role model status for years to come.
The darling US male figure skater, Adam Rippon, is headed down this path. Newsworthy not only for his skill and style on the ice, but also for being “the first openly gay Olympic athlete,” Rippon has become a media darling, outspoken, classy, and sassy, even receiving matchmaking offers from celebrity mothers via social media. (How gay is that? So gay.)
He hasn’t even won a gold medal yet, and he’s technically still winning, which, really, is the best kind of winning there is.
But he’s no Brian Boitano. Yet.
Brian Boitano was the first American to land a triple axel (in yo’ face Tonya) and have a career-long front-page rivalry with Canadian skater Brian Orser, which piqued at the 1988 Olympics (“Battle of the Brians”) and ended with bouquets and medals and lifelong friendships when Boitano won the gold (again, in yo’ face T).
Boitano’s journey to the gold made him a beloved household name—his skates were put in a freaking museum—and he wasn’t even out yet.
But what cements his place in pop culture heritage was how his Olympic-grade heroics landed him an exalted hero role on South Park—earning him a perfect score and a place on the podium with Jesus himself.
"It's become such a part of my life," Boitano said in a 2006 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. "Kids who don't know who I am, or what I did at the Olympics, meet me and think I'm cool because I'm in South Park."
So Adam Rippon is no Brian Boitano—yet. Hopefully he won’t be a Tonya Harding. Although either way, he’d end up on the silver screen because he’s a winner.