At a press conference on Monday, figure
skater Adam Rippon said that he was not trying to pick a fight with
Vice President Mike Pence.
The 28-year-old Rippon, who came out as
gay to Skating magazine in 2015, is one of just a handful of
out athletes heading to next month's Olympic Winter Games in South
Earlier this month, Rippon criticized
the White House's selection of Pence to lead the 2018 U.S. Olympic
delegation to South Korea.
“If it were before my event, I would
absolutely not go out of my way to meet somebody who I felt has gone
out of their way to not only show that they aren't a friend of a gay
person but that they think that they're sick,” Rippon
said, a reference to Pence's reported support for therapies that
attempt to alter the sexuality or gender identity of lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender people. A Pence spokesman in 2016 denied
that Pence supports so-called conversion therapy.
Pence's press secretary responded to
Rippon's comments, saying that the claim that Pence supports such
therapies is “totally false” and “has no basis in fact.”
once joked that Mike Pence “wants to hang” all gay people.)
On Monday, Rippon said that the rebuke
“It surprised me a lot, but I'm glad.
I'm glad my voice has been kind of heard. I mean, I was surprised,
but I don't think it was a bad thing,” he
He added that his focus remains on
training: “I'm trying to train for the biggest competition of my
life. I'm not trying to pick a fight with the Vice President of the