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Gay Winter Olympian Adam Rippon makes dramatic U-turn on Mike Pence

February 12, 2018
US skater Adam Rippon practices at Gangneung Ice Arena ahead of the team event of the men's figure skating before the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Gangneungon (Photo by MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

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The first openly gay American to compete in the Winter Olympics has softened his approach to US Vice President Mike Pence.

Ice skater Adam Rippon said he would refuse to meet President Trump’s VP, who is leading the US delegation in South Korea, due to his opposition to LGBT rights.

Responding to the announcement that Pence was to lead the delegation on USA Today, Rippon said: “You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy? I’m not buying it.”

Rippon made history Monday when he won a bronze medal for his first performance.

Donald Trump and Mike Pence (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“I don’t think he has a real concept of reality,” Rippon said of Pence.

“To stand by some of the things that Donald Trump has said and for Mike Pence to say he’s a devout Christian man is completely contradictory.

“If he’s okay with what’s being said about people and Americans and foreigners and about different countries that are being called ‘shitholes,’ I think he should really go to church.”

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But after pumping the air in exhilaration following his free skate in the figure skating team event Rippon appeared to change his mind.

“Yes of course,” he said, when asked by AFP if he would accept a meeting with Pence.

Pence reached out to the Olympian following the original comments.

“@Adaripp I want you to know we are FOR YOU,” Pence wrote. “Don’t let fake news distract you. I am proud of you and ALL OF OUR GREAT athletes and my only hope for you and all of #TeamUSA is to bring home the gold. Go get ’em!”

Adam Rippon of the United States (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Related: Out athletes Gus Kenworthy and Adam Rippon show off their beautiful friendship

Rippon made history when he took a bronze medal for Team USA at the Winter Olympics on Monday morning after giving a spectacular debut performance.

Skating to Coldplay’s “O” and “Arrival of the Birds” by Cinematic Orchestra, Rippon was awarded a score of 172.98, giving the team an extra eight points.

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Canadian skater Patrick Chan took first place, followed by Russian skater Mikhail Kolyada – competing under an international banner due to Russia’s ban from the Olympics.

The team figure skating event amalgamates scores from several different individual skates – and Rippon’s performance along with their others was enough to earn Team USA a bronze medal.

Rippon will also compete in a men’s single event later in the competition.

Speaking after his performance, Rippon said:“I want to throw up. I want to go over to the judges and say, ‘Can I just have a Xanax and a quick drink? I’ll be fine.’ But I kept it together.”

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Rippon said that if he were offered the chance to meet the VP after performing, he could be interested to talk – but only if Pence had an open mind.

“If I had the chance to meet him afterwards, after I’m finished competing, there might be a possibility to have an open conversation,” Rippon said.

“He seems more mild-mannered than Donald Trump.But I don’t think the current administration represents the values that I was taught growing up.

“Mike Pence doesn’t stand for anything that I really believe in.”

More: adam rippon, ice skating, sport, US, USA, Winter Olympics

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