- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 13, 2018

U.S. figure skater Adam Rippon told reporters on Tuesday that he didn’t want his opinions on Vice President Mike Pence to take the limelight away from teammates at the Winter Olympics.

The man who helped earn a bronze medal for the U.S. figure skating team on Monday is worried that his political activism is overshadowing feats of athletic prowess in Pyeongchang. Mr. Rippon recently made national headlines by claiming the vice president “funded gay conversion therapy” as the governor of Indiana, but he now wants less media coverage of the issue.

“I think right now the Olympics are about Olympic competition and the athletes involved,” Mr. Rippon said, CNN reported Tuesday. “I don’t want to distract from their Olympic experience, and 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.”

The skater told USA Today last month that he would not expend effort to meet with Mr. Pence after he was selected to lead the 2018 U.S. Olympic delegation to South Korea.

“I would absolutely not go out of my way to meet somebody who I felt has gone out of their way to not only show that they aren’t a friend of a gay person but that they think that they’re sick,” Mr. Rippon said Jan. 17. “I wouldn’t go out of my way to meet somebody like that.”

Mr. Pence’s office has rejected claims that he supports “gay conversion therapy.”

The skater, despite his calls for less media attention, reiterated a desire to use fame to amplify his activism.

“I can’t tone it down. I’m being me and being myself,” he continued. “I’ve got so many messages from kids all over the country — I’m getting so emotional thinking about it — I think that’s why it’s so important.”

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