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Adam Rippon stays tied to figure skating in retirement

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.

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