PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA (WFIE) - Ball State journalists are covering the Olympics in PyeongChang for 14 News.
They went to a press briefing where ice skater Adam Rippon spoke.
We'll warn you. He used some colorful language.
"I've always sort of been unabashedly myself. I've always spoken my mind and from the heart. And you know what, I think America is just catching on. The other day I was joking to one of my friends, and he was like 'you're kind of everywhere.' And I was like 'I know. I'm like America's sweetheart.' And he just laughed, like, in my face. Because I think what you think of as like the American people embracing, I don't think, on paper, I really embody much of any of that sort of perceived persona. I think maybe that's what people are kind of latching on to. My story is different. I'm different. And I think on some level we all feel sort of different, and when we are embraced for being who we are, and speaking our minds, it's awesome. I know what its like to be a young kid, and feel out of place and to what to share your ideas and feel like people might not like them. And I spent a lot of time worrying what people thought of me. And as soon as I was able to let go of those doubts, that's really when I was able to find my voice. And I hope that in the process of me sharing who I am with everyone, they can find their voice too. Because, honestly, it's really fun to be yourself. It's really fun to be me."
"So on the flip side, I've never received so many messages from people that said I've been cheering for someone to fall, which is darling. But at the same time, you know, I take it all with a grain of salt, because at the end of the day, I really enjoy what I'm doing, and I think that's the message I want to convey. The most important thing is that you're enjoying what you're doing, that you have passion. Life really isn't worth living if you don't have passion. I have a passion for what I do, and along with having a passion for being an Olympic athlete, I have a passion for talking with people and sharing my story and interacting with people. So being here at this Olympic Games, I am able to share both of my passions of interacting with so many different people and sharing my story and making people laugh. But at the same time, I have this amazing opportunity to go out onto the ice and show people, 'Hey, I'm a really serious athlete.' I have this huge personality, but I can put that all together, and that's what gives me strength to go out there in front of millions of people and skate.
I think sometimes I will come across people, and they'll spend 20-30 minutes with me. And people have told me, 'Wow, you're a lot different than I thought.' And I said, 'Oh! What did you think?' And they're like, 'Oh, I just thought you were an asshole.'
I'm just trying to share who I am, and my personality. And I think sometimes it might come off as cocky. I've been through a lot in my life, and I've used my sense of humor as a coping tool. It's gotten me through a lot of challenging times, and if I didn't have a sense of humor, I wouldn't be where I am now. I think having a sense of humor is incredibly important, but sometimes I do meet people, and they just might not like me. They might now want to get to know me. And that's okay, they're boring as hell anyway."
"I think my hard work and me getting to the Olympics did me a favor. I think I would really hard to get where I am, and I didn't where I am for being gay or for speaking out on different issues. I got to where I am for working really hard.
The fact that the VP felt so passionately to speak out is a very interesting and unique experience that I've never gone through. Being here at the Olympics it does give me a louder voice. And I've got a big mouth and a loud voice. But, it has given me a platform.
I think it's so important that as an athlete, I use this platform to my advantage. I think that sometimes you're giving this opportunity, and I really want to take full advantage of it. I think me using my voice has given my skating a greater purpose, more so than just something I love to do. It's given me a voice to reach young kids. I've gotten so many messages. I could even get emotional thinking about it, but I've gotten so many messages from young kids all over the country. My story has resonated with them. It's incredibly powerful, this platform that you can have at the Olympic Games. I think that's why it's so important. In the past week, I've heard a lot of people, in addition to all the support I've gotten, say 'Whoa, Adam Rippon should tone it down.' I can't. I can't tone it down. I'm being me, and I'm being myself. I'd be doing myself an injustice, and I'd be doing an injustice to those kids who don't feel like they're comfortable to be themselves."
"I've reached so many messages from such a broad age range. To get messages from so many young kids who say that they're gay. They're afraid to share their story with their family and to see their reaction. They think they might get kicked out of their home. I was very luck growing up with the friends and the family that I had. I never had to go through anything like that, but I know that fear. I know that pit in your stomach where you just kind of don't know. I think back, and I remember thinking about being a young kid and being like, 'I'm never going to share this with anybody. This will be a secret that I keep with me my entire life.
Skating sort of saved my life. It was my outlet. If I didn't feel comfortable to share my feelings and thoughts, I was able to go out on the ice and express them. When I able to kind of marry all of that together, that's when everything kind of fell into place.
You can be yourself and still be successful. I think it's very powerful. But to have so many messages, from people who I've never met, tell me they're so proud of me for speaking out, I'm just speaking from the heart. I'm really being myself. And I hope it can give others the confidence to let them be themselves as well. The messages really have been overwhelming, and I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to share my story. I really hope it can help a lot of people."