Adam Rippon stays tied to figure skating in retirement

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NEW YORK – Adam Rippon, an Olympic figure skating team event bronze medalist, became a mainstream star in PyeongChang. Building on that brand, Rippon launched a YouTube channel and penned a book, “Beautiful on the Outside.”

NBCSports.com/figure-skating caught up with Rippon after he participated in the “Love All: An Open Conversation” panel at the 2019 U.S. Open. This Q&A has been lightly edited for clarity.

Q: You’re living in Las Vegas now. Will you attend Skate America, the first Grand Prix event of the season?

Rippon: I won’t. I’m so upset. I am excited because my book comes out Oct. 15, so I’ll be on the beginning of my book tour during Skate America.

Q. How did you come up with the title?

Rippon: “Beautiful on the Outside” is something I jokingly said to one of my team leaders at the Olympics. I love it because it’s completely ridiculous. A play on “beautiful on the inside is what matters.”

I think the deeper meaning is that there are so many times in our life where we’re so ashamed, afraid or embarrassed about what’s going on or who we think people might think that we are that we put up this front. We want people just to think that we’re beautiful on the outside – don’t look on the inside. There were times in my life where I felt like, “Hey, don’t look. I’m not going to tell you anything about me. Everything’s perfect.” That’s what it means for me. But I did want something that was funny.

Q. How close are you to figure skating these days?

Rippon: Figure skating is something that I do as a passion. It’s something that I’ll always love. It’s something to keep using my brain in that artistic way.

I’m lucky to do so many other things, but, because of that, I don’t have a lot of time to skate. I can’t really commit to helping a lot of people. But this year I did a free skate for Mae-Berenice [Meite] from France. I did Mariah Bell’s short program. For right now, I’m really doing programs for my friends who I’ve known for a while and who I know will work really hard. I’m really grateful they’ve trusted me.

Q. Do you offer input on what Bell or Meite will wear?

Rippon: When I was skating, I wanted to be in charge of that. They’ll ask my opinion. I really want them to take charge of their own thing. I can tell them what I think would be nice or suggest it, but I want them really to be in charge of their own destiny in that sense.

MORE: Figure skating Grand Prix series: Eight matchups to watch

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2022 Ironman Kona World Championships results

Ironman Kona World Championships
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2022 Ironman Kona World Championship top-10 results and notables (full, searchable pro and age group results are here) …

Pro Women
1. Chelsea Sodaro (USA) — 8:33:46
2. Lucy Charles-Barclay (GBR) — 8:41:37
3. Anne Haug (GER) — 8:42:22
4. Laura Philipp (GER) — 8:50:31
5. Lisa Norden (SWE) — 8:54:43
6. Fenella Langridge (GBR) — 8:56:26
7. Sarah Crowley (AUS) — 9:01:58
8. Daniela Ryf (SUI) — 9:02:26
9. Skye Moench (USA) — 9:04:31
10. Laura Siddall (GBR) — 9:07:49
16. Heather Jackson (USA) — 9:22:17
DNF. Sarah True (USA)

Pro Men
Race is on Saturday, live on Peacock at 12 p.m. ET.

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Chelsea Sodaro wins Ironman Kona World Championship, ends American drought

Chelsea Sodaro
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Chelsea Sodaro was the surprise winner of the Ironman Kona World Championships women’s race, ending the longest American victory drought in the event’s 44-year history.

Sodaro, a 33-year-old mom to an 18-month-old, prevailed in an unofficial 8 hours, 33 minutes, 46 seconds on Hawaii’s Big Island.

“My mind is a little bit blown right now,” she said in a finish area interview 25 minutes later, standing next to her daughter, Skylar. “This is the culmination of things being right in my life and having perspective. … This is freakin’ incredible, but the greatest gift at the end of the finish line is my little 18-month-old.”

Sodaro was in fifth place after the 2.6-mile swim and 112-mile bike, then recorded one of the fastest 26.2-mile marathon runs in event history (2:51:45) to win by 7 minutes, 50 seconds over Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay.

Swiss Daniela Ryf, who was eyeing her sixth Ironman world title, led after the bike but faded quickly on the run.

MORE: Ironman Kona Race Results

Sodaro, whose lone previous full Ironman was a second-place finish at June’s European Championships (reportedly in the second-fastest Ironman distance debut in history), became the first American to win in Kona since Tim DeBoom in 2002 and the first American to win the women’s race since Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser in 1996.

She is the first woman or man to win in their Kona debut since Brit Chrissie Wellington took the first of her four titles in 2007.

Sodaro (née Reilly) was an All-America runner at Cal, then placed 19th in the 10,000m at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.

She turned to triathlon in 2017, made podiums on the World Cup circuit (just below the top-level World Series for Olympic hopefuls) and moved up to long-distance racing in 2018.

At the half Ironman distance, she was fourth at the 2019 World Championships, her last major championship start before the pandemic, pregnancy, childbirth and a move up to the full Ironman this year.

“I’m pretty stoked that I think I maybe get to take the rest of the year off and be a mom for a month or so,” Sodaro said.

The pro men’s race is Saturday, live on Peacock at 12 p.m. ET.

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