Adam Rippon

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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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Adam Rippon takes a lap in Indy car

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Adam Rippon can compare Olympic figure skating and riding in an Indy car in this way: Both experiences made him want to throw up.

Rippon sat in the backseat of fellow “Dancing with the Stars” winner Helio Castroneves‘ two-seater while at a Toronto IndyCar stop on Sunday.

“I definitely feel like my nuts are in my stomach,” Rippon said in an NBCSN interview while riding. “This is a little bit like how I drive to the grocery store. A little bit more intense, but Helio is killing it.”

Rippon, 29, retired from figure skating after placing 10th in his Olympic debut in PyeongChang, where he also earned a team-event bronze medal.

He has since done a bevy of appearances, including on “Will & Grace,” in ESPN the Magazine’s Body Issue and as part of a Taylor Swift music video.

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MORE: Adam Rippon keeps figure skating lessons close in retirement

Adam Rippon appears in Taylor Swift music video

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Adam Rippon is the latest Olympic figure skater to hang with Taylor Swift, appearing in her music video for “You Need to Calm Down” that premiered Monday.

Rippon serves snow cones for four seconds at the 1:46 mark of the video for a song where Swift calls out homophobes and her own haters. The retired Olympic team event bronze medalist was not the only celebrity cameo.

Also shown: Ellen DeGeneres, Laverne Cox, RuPaul, Ryan Reynolds, Katy Perry and the cast of “Queer Eye.”

The video finishes with the words: “Let’s show our pride by demanding that, on a national level, our laws truly treat all of our citizens equally.”

Earlier this month Swift announced that she supported the Equality Act.

In 2014, Swift befriended Olympic bronze medalist Gracie Gold after the Sochi Games.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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MORE: Adam Rippon keeps figure skating lessons close in retirement