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Rippon comes out as gay in SKATING magazine

U.S. silver medalist: 'I've been honest with myself the whole time'
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Adam Rippon said he does not want to be defined by his sexual orientation. -Getty Images

Two-time U.S. silver medalist Adam Rippon came out as gay in the October issue of SKATING magazine.

Rippon is featured on the cover of the issue alongside close friend and training partner Ashley Wagner. In a wide-ranging interview with reporter Amy Rosewater, Rippon revealed his sexual orientation.

"Being gay is not something that defines me. What defines me is what my mom always taught me: to treat everyone with respect, to always be a hard worker and to be kind. Those are the things that define me."

The topic came up when Rosewater asked Wagner about the strong stance she took against Russia's much-publicized anti-gay laws leading up to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.

Rippon said he considered coming out before the Sochi Games.

"I did think about it. I feel so overwhelmed that U.S. Figure Skating wants to be a part of me. It's a huge thing to have your sport's governing body be a part of that and to show all their athletes that they accept them for who they are and for their individual personalities. When you go out and compete, you want to represent [the organization] to the best of your ability, and you want to represent your true, authentic self. When you're honest with yourself, you can do that. I want to be a relatable example."

Rippon told Rosewater that current attitudes toward alternative lifestyles helped influence his decision.

"It's the year 2015. So many more athletes are willing to be open and it's part of the culture now to be more open about who you are and what your interests are. Of course people are interested in your sexual orientation. People love rumors.

"When athletes come out and say that they're gay, it makes it a little more normal and less of a big deal -- especially in the athletic community. You have a lot of respect for your fellow athletes for working hard toward a goal. Their sexual orientation takes a backseat to that."

Coming off a season in which he equaled his best finish at the U.S. championships (second), Rippon is set to make his 2015-16 debut next week at the Finlandia Trophy. 

He told SKATING, "I'd just like to be a good role model. I've been honest with myself the whole time. I worked hard and loved what I did."