Jean Catuffe/Getty Images(PYEONGCHANG, South Korea) — Has the icy relationship between Adam Rippon and Mike Pence thawed out?
It seems so, now that U.S. Olympic figure skater, who said he previously turned down a phone call from the vice president, has had a change of heard and is now open to having such a conversation.
“I was offered a phone call with the vice president that I decided not to take before the games,” Rippon, who earned a bronze at the games in PyeongChang, South Korea, said Friday during an interview on NBC.”
“I didn’t take the phone call [with VP Mike Pence] because I needed to focus on the competition,” the Scranton, Pennsylvania-born athlete explained. “I feel that Mike Pence doesn’t stand for anything that I was taught when I grew up, and I think that it’s important if you’re given the platform to speak up for those who don’t have a voice.”
But when asked if he would now accept a call from Pence, who led the U.S. Olympic delegation, Rippon said, “totally.”
Rippon, 28, and skier Gus Kenworthy, 26, are the first openly gay U.S. athletes to compete at the Winter Olympics.
And because of that, Rippon said he understands why his perceived feud with Pence has drawn significant interest.
“I think there is a lot being made of it,” he said, “because people still on some level people still have a problem with it.”
At a press conference earlier this month in PyeongChang, Rippon said, “I don’t want my Olympic experience to be about Mike Pence. I want it to be about my amazing skating and being America’s sweetheart.”
The Rippon-Pence saga kicked off last month when Rippon told USA Today of the vice president’s involvement with the Olympics, “You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy? I’m not buying it.”
In a 2000 statement on his congressional campaign website, Pence said, “Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.” During the 2016 election campaign, however, Pence’s spokesman said he does not support the concept.
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