‘I feel lucky I’m not Adam Rippon’, says out Canadian Olympian Eric Radford
Canada’s medal-winning out Olympian Eric Radford has addressed the political pressure on his US counterparts.
Radford made history at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang this month when he picked up a gold medal in the team figure skating event.
Meanwhile, US Olympian Adam Rippon – who picked up a bronze in the same sport – attracted a wave of both positive and negative attention at the games over his passionate pro-LGBT comments to the media and criticism of the Trump administration.
Speaking to TMZ, Radford said he felt “lucky” he didn’t have to deal with the level of political pressure that Rippon is facing.
“I feel very lucky that I’m not Adam, and I don’t have to deal with that whole political side of things.
“I got a call from our Prime Minister [Justin Trudeau]… he tweeted [my skating partner] and I. He’s been so supportive and kind and nice.
“I give all of my support to Adam and everything he’s doing – especially in the skating world.”
Radford added that he’s hoping to gather some of the out Olympians at the event for a trip to Pride House, an LGBT-inclusive space which is being hosted by the Canadian delegation.
He said: “I’m going to try and get Adam and the guys together and head down to Pride House – maybe we can just spend a bit of time there and soak up that really positive energy.”
The first-ever Pride House took place in Canada during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, where it opened up its doors to LGBTQ+ athletes, fans, and their allies from all over the world. Since then, Pride House has made its mark at numerous large-scale sporting events including the London 2012 and Rio 2106 Olympic and Paralympic Games, creating a wave of positive change throughout.
Chris Overholt, CEO and Secretary General of the Canadian Olympic Committee said: “The COC stands behind its commitment of inclusion and diversity in the global sport landscape.
“We recognize that diversity is our greatest strength. Inclusion is the very foundation of what makes the heart of Team Canada. By hosting Pride House in our Canada Olympic House, we are extending our warmest welcome to all from every corner of the world to celebrate ‘Be Olympic’.
“Team Canada is proud to embrace its diversity at Canada House, which includes a sign at the front door, welcoming all and knows that as a team, we are stronger when we celebrate our differences.”
Keph Senett, Pride House International trustee, said: “There is much to be celebrated in this historic partnership.
“It’s the first time a Pride House has come to Asia, and it’s the first time a National Olympic Committee has officially embraced the Pride House concept. The fact that it is the Canadian Olympic Committee that has announced its commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusion and participation is extra meaningful as Pride House was originally a Canadian idea.”
Donald Trump Jr last week took a shot at Adam Rippon for speaking out against his father and VP Mike Pence.
Rippon had come under fire from conservatives after vowing to boycott meetings with Pence, who is serving as head of the US Olympic delegation and is a notorious opponent of LGBT rights.
After winning a bronze medal in the team skating event, the athlete attempted to move on from the row.
Rippon had told CNN: “I have no problem about what I’ve said because I stand by it, but I think right now the Olympics are about Olympic competition and the athletes involved.”
He quipped: “I don’t want my Olympic experience to be about Mike Pence, I want it to be about my amazing skating and being America’s sweetheart!”
Don Jr said: “Really? Then Perhaps you shouldn’t have spent the past few weeks talking about him. I haven’t heard him mention you once???”
Pence in fact put out a statement suggesting Rippon lied to the public and later sent a tweet claiming his allegations were “fake news”.
Don Jr’s follows proceeded to send homophobic abuse to Rippon.
One wrote: “You whine and complain like a little bitch too much. You’re not like a normal athlete. You turn the olympics into a stage for your gayness and you embarrassed your country. You’re a bitchy, overrated faggot who doesn’t deserve to be on team USA.”
Another added: “Wish this faggot would shut his hole”
Rippon had coincidentally clapped back at homophobes in the same interview that triggered Don Jr.
He said: “I think I worked really hard to get where I am. I didn’t get where I am for being gay or speaking out on different issues. I got to where I am for working really hard.
“I think me using my voice has given my skating a greater purpose, above something I enjoy to do. It’s given me a voice to reach young kids.
“I’ve got so many messages from young kids all over the country… it’s incredibly powerful, this platform you can have at the Olympic games. I’ve heard a lot of people say, Adam Rippon should tone it down.
“I can’t tone it down, because I’m being me, and being myself. I would be doing myself an injustice, and I would be doing an injustice to those kids who don’t feel comfortable to be themselves.”
He has not directly responded to Don Jr.
But he did quip: “With everything going on in the media about me this Valentine’s Day I don’t want people to get distracted and forget how beautiful I am (on the outside)”.