He's emerged as a fan favorite, an athlete whose talent and personality shine through his skating — and whose sense of humor and humanity have been amplified by the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. But Adam Rippon says he's not ready to move from the Olympic Athlete's Village and join NBC.
News that the TV network had offered Rippon a job emerged on Sunday here at the Pyeongchang Games. But one day later, Rippon says he was glad to be asked — but that he still has work to do, cheering for his teammates.
"I am flattered that NBC wanted me to work as a correspondent for them here in PyeongChang," Rippon said via Twitter. "Doing this would require me to leave Team USA and move out of the Olympic Village."
"I don't want to do that," he said, adding that he has declined the opportunity.
Rippon, who has made a point of acknowledging his teammates, fans and supporters while competing in South Korea, said:
"I love being on Team USA and representing our country. My teammates were there for me during my events, and now I NEED to be there for them. I look forward to being with them, and I'm very excited for the rest of the competition. Go Team USA!!!"
The change of heart seemed to catch NBC by surprise. The network had announced (in a since-removed statement: see cached version) that it was hiring Rippon on Sunday, sending out a tweet with his photo and saying, "Welcome to the NBC team." But Rippon decided he wasn't ready to leave his current team; NBC's tweet has now been deleted.
Rippon has made headlines because of his status as one of the first openly gay U.S. athletes to compete in the Olympics — and because of his performances under pressure during the U.S. team figure skating event (where he won a bronze medal) and his men's singles event (in which he finished 10th).
Rippon has been busy — seemingly too busy to realize he had a new prospective day job. On Monday, he said he learned about NBC's offer via Twitter.
"I actually found everything out about the offer via twitter HAHA," he wrote, adding, "2018 is wild girl."
After competing on Saturday, Rippon discussed his approach to being an out athlete — and to presenting himself to a massive audience during the Olympics.
"I try my best to keep it real and in my interviews, I try my best to be myself and when I am out there on the ice, I am just showing another part to myself.
"I came here and I wanted to show the world who I was on and off the ice. I wanted to go out there and show that I am a serious athlete. But at the same time, have fun and show everybody, who I am. And I think that people have kind of enjoyed my honesty and my openness.
"That's exactly who I am, I have been completely honest with this whole Olympic experience. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And I wanted to be be open and honest about it and fun with the media, it's a whole part of it that I wanted to enjoy and I enjoyed every single second .... I am America's sweetheart."
There are signs that Rippon, as usual, has spoken the truth. Actress Sally Field, for instance, is encouraging her son, Sam Greisman, to "find a way" to talk to Rippon, after he told her about having a crush on the figure skater.
Greisman quoted her encouraging words in a tweet — "Sam ... he's insanely pretty. Find a way," — prompting Field to prove that moms always have one more card to play: She quoted his tweet, and tagged Rippon.