Everyday Warrior Podcast Episode 9: Former Olympic Figure Skater Adam Rippon

Men’s Journal’s Everyday Warrior With Mike Sarraille is a new podcast that inspires individuals to live more fulfilling lives by having conversations with disrupters and high performers in all walks of life. In our ninth episode, we talked to Adam Rippon, a former American figure skater. Rippon was the first openly gay athlete to win a medal for the United States in the Winter Olympics, winning bronze in the team event at the PyeongChang Games in 2018.

Listen to the full episode above (scroll down for the transcript) and see more from this series below.

This interview has not been edited for length or clarity.


Mike Sarraille:
Welcome to the Everyday Warrior podcast. We are joined by Adam Rippon, who I think is a total badass and everyday warrior. This was a last minute, sort of thrown together, during South by Southwest, and I appreciate you taking the time. I know you got in yesterday and you’re leaving today, but when I heard you were in town and open to a podcast, having known who you are and followed your exploits, there was no way I could pass on this. So I’m glad we made this happen in less than 24 hours, but welcome to the podcast.

Adam Rippon:
Well, thank you. Well, there’s no way I could pass on it either. So this is just really off to a great start.

Mike Sarraille:
Good. And so we are sharing in mimosas, we’re going to get relaxed here. Good. Well, first off, I said this earlier, you didn’t recognize it, nor would you know that we share a birthday, November 11th Veteran’s Day. That is-

Adam Rippon:
In the same year, 1989. We were born in the same year. Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
Yes. I was born in 1989. Thank you. He’s already hooked me up. So let’s dive right in. This is going to be a wonderful conversation for a lot of people, and I’m excited to learn from you because you’ve done so much in only 32 years, to my 44.

Adam Rippon:
Well, you’re very sweet. Let’s go. I’m ready.

Mike Sarraille:
Let’s go. Okay. So born in 1989, November 11th, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Is Scranton a hotbed for Olympic level figure skaters?

Adam Rippon:
All right. Look me in the eye, and what do you think? It’s not. There’s not a lot of hot bedding in Scranton, to be honest. And no offense to Scranton, love the place, but I’m from the east coast, so the winters are cold, and I got into skating because it was just somebody had a birthday party or the big thing to do where we’re from is in the winter you go to Montage Mountain to ski. I’m assuming you’ve obviously heard of Montage Mountain.

Mike Sarraille:
Actually, I have not.

Adam Rippon:
No, it’s-

Mike Sarraille:
In California we have Squaw Valley and …

Adam Rippon:
Right, but in Scranton we have Montage Mountain.

Mike Sarraille:
Is it [crosstalk].

Adam Rippon:
It’s our Squaw Valley. Is what?

Mike Sarraille:
Is it a mountain …

Adam Rippon:
No.

Mike Sarraille:
… or is it a hill?

Adam Rippon:
It’s a hill.

Mike Sarraille:
It’s a hill.

Adam Rippon:
Barely. I’ve never skied on it either.

Mike Sarraille:
Okay.

Adam Rippon:
Do you love the way that the story is going by the way yet?

Mike Sarraille:
So Scranton is, and I had a good mentor, a guy named Bill Campbell who’s from a coal mine in Pennsylvania, and he went on to be the secret coach of Silicon Valley, but always when he talked about his upbringing in Pennsylvania, it was a blue collar town, it was hard living.

Adam Rippon:
Totally. It’s exactly that. It’s a really strong, middle lower class town. Really great people, really hardworking people, and a lot of people who’ve been there for a really long time, like generations.

Mike Sarraille:
Good.

Adam Rippon:
And that’s me.

Mike Sarraille:
And so you said you got interested in skating when you were at a birthday party?

Adam Rippon:
Yeah. Well, so my mom would bring me skating every winter, and I hated it. And the only thing I really wanted to do was have a soft pretzel and a hot chocolate. Can you blame me? No. And so I just never liked it. And then there was a girl in my class who had a skating party, and I went, I was like nine, so I was a little older, and I just loved it. And I kept asking my mom to like, “Can I go back? Can we please go back?” And then famously our birthday is November 11th. For my birthday. I got signed up for the group lesson classes, and so that’s how I got started.

Mike Sarraille:
In Scranton,

Adam Rippon:
In actually Pittston, which, as it sounds, is worse than Scranton.

Mike Sarraille:
And how far is that from Scranton?

Adam Rippon:
It’s about 30 minutes on the turnpike.

Mike Sarraille:
Okay. And so your mom’s driving you out. And I’m sorry, going back, just looking at your life, because we always do research our guests, out of respect. Your parents divorced when you were 13?

Adam Rippon:
Yeah. Yeah. I think my parents got divorced, I was about 13. Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
13. And you’re the oldest of …

Adam Rippon:
Six.

Mike Sarraille:
Six siblings.

Adam Rippon:
It’s a lot.

Mike Sarraille:
I only had three. So with that many siblings, is that a competitive environment? Cause I mean, I got to assume you’re competing for mom and dad’s time and resources, bathroom time?

Adam Rippon:
I think that when there’s so many of you, everybody wants to find their own thing. And that’s what me and my siblings all did, we all found our own thing that we really liked to pursue. And when there is so many, there’s obviously going to be an age gap. And so for me, to my younger siblings, I feel almost more like an uncle to them than I feel like my older siblings are kind of like actually my siblings. Does that make sense?

Mike Sarraille:
So did you become, in some sense, the man of the house, when your parents finally got divorced?

Adam Rippon:
Let’s say yes.

Mike Sarraille:
Yeah. To a degree?

Adam Rippon:
Well kind of, but also no, because by the time my parents were divorced, I wasn’t living at home anymore, because I was living in Philadelphia during the week to train. So on a Monday morning, I’d have my little portable radio with my headphones, and I’d listened to 98.5 KRZ on the Greyhound bus. And I’d take the Greyhound bus from Scranton to Philadelphia, then I’d do the same thing on Friday from Philly back to Scranton. So I wasn’t home for a lot of the big parts of like my parents separating.

Mike Sarraille:
So I’m assuming, as you’re describing it, when your mom signed you up for those lessons, the instructors are like, “Hey, your son has talent. He’s beyond these lessons, we need to get him into a different circle.”

Adam Rippon:
I think what it was, was that it was the first thing that I was really into, and I just loved and I just wanted to do it all the time and I did everything I could to make sure that there was no excuse that I couldn’t get to the rink. And I remember I wanted to skate in the morning and my mom was like, “You know, everybody needs to get up for school and I need to get everybody ready.” And I remember that for a while I would wake up all of my siblings at 4:30 in the morning, and I would panic them that they were late for school, and I would get everybody ready and make their lunches and stuff. And then by five o’clock I could wake my mom up and be like, “Can we go to the rink? Everybody’s ready for school.” And that’s just good business. Yeah..

Mike Sarraille:
So when they recognized you had real potentially competitive talent, did that then become to dominate your life? Cause I’m assuming, as you’re telling me so that, you’re not enrolled in regular school by this point? You’re doing remote learning, computers and then spending most of your time on the rink?

Adam Rippon:
Yes, I was being homeschooled, which I couldn’t not recommend more. I was really good with school and I liked school, but with the homeschooling it was tough because I really needed that accountability. So when I finally was in high school, I started doing it online with a charter school program, which was much better.

Mike Sarraille:
Because you felt like you had some sense of homecoming [crosstalk]

Adam Rippon:
Yeah, because I wasn’t listening to my mom. Are you kidding me?

Mike Sarraille:
We don’t, and that’s the thing of teenagers is they think you have everything figured out.

Adam Rippon:
Yeah, and the other thing about teenagers is that they suck.

Mike Sarraille:
I’m not … As a father of a 14 and … Actually my daughter turns 18 today.

Adam Rippon:
Wow.

Mike Sarraille:
I know.

Adam Rippon:
A lot of birthdates, odd.

Mike Sarraille:
A lot of birthdays. But teenagers think they have everything figured out. So did I, I was not easy to live with. In retrospect, I look back at my parents, I’m like, “You were right about 99% of the things.”

Adam Rippon:
I know, that’s what’s so sad. And of all the fighting that I’ve done with my parents, which I haven’t done a lot, I was a teacher’s pet, a teacher’s parent. But all of the things that my mom would get upset with me about, when I was younger, she was right. Which I guess I have to hand it to her.

Mike Sarraille:
We just don’t like to tell them directly. I don’t think [crosstalk]

Adam Rippon:
No. Right. Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
So in many ways you didn’t live a traditional teenage life, cause you were so laser focused on skating. I’m assuming during the weekends you were going to every competition you could, is that accurate?

Adam Rippon:
Yeah. I would go home during the weekend, so I’d spend some time with my family then, and then there would be competitions, and that’s when my mom would get pulled away from the family, because then my mom would travel with me. And we went to a many different competitions all down the east coast. And so yeah, it was just that’s all I was focused on. And I know that in retrospect, or thinking about what’s a normal childhood, it might sound like I was making sacrifices, but from my perspective I never was because I was getting to do something I really loved to do.

Mike Sarraille:
So you just had pure love for the sport?

Adam Rippon:
Oh yeah. It was just like the first time I felt like I was good at something.

Mike Sarraille:
Was there a certain feeling on the ice when you’re by yourself that just drew you in? Cause I see that being a highly competitive environment, which may be a turnoff to some people. Was that mean, was it spiritual in a sense?

Adam Rippon:
I think what I really loved about it was I liked the performance aspect of it, but I loved the learning and mastering new elements, and I loved just the training of it, especially as I got older. I would say now when I look back at my career, the most fun I had with it was probably in the last few years before I competed at the Olympics, because I just loved that training so much.

Mike Sarraille:
And the competitions didn’t scare you?

Adam Rippon:
I didn’t love competing.

Mike Sarraille:
What were you feeling before a major competition?

Adam Rippon:
Bad.

Mike Sarraille:
Nervous?

Adam Rippon:
Yeah, like I was going to have the worst diarrhea in the history of the world. And I remember, I specifically remember when I was skating in my last event in the Pyung Chang Olympics, and I remember thinking like, “Why do I do this to myself? This is awful.” And then of course the second it’s done, I’m like, “This is the most amazing thing ever.” And I always would remind myself like, “Just focus on how you want to feel when it’s over, so that these feelings that you’re feeling, this feeling uncomfortable, use it as a way to perform to a higher level.”

Mike Sarraille:
The human psyche is so fickle.

Adam Rippon:
Totally.

Mike Sarraille:
“I hate this.” And then all of a sudden you’re done, you’re like, “I love this is the best feeling in the world.”

Adam Rippon:
Yeah. And I had to, as I got older, re-channel the way that I would feel my nerves. I think sometimes I felt like it made me hold back, and I had to just remind myself that like, “Oh, this is adrenaline that I can use to take it a step further that I couldn’t in practice. So this is actually a really good thing.” And I would remind myself of that, and it was something that really changed the way that I competed.

Mike Sarraille:
So you started really getting serious about skating at the age of 10. Is that late compared to a lot of the Olympic level skaters?

Adam Rippon:
Yeah. I mean, in my sport specifically, for the men, a good age to be at your peak and at the Olympics, would be like 22 to 24. You’re still young enough but you’re mature enough, and you have enough strength to be competitive and strong and handle all of the elements and everything. So a lot of people get started much earlier, like five, six.
Because skating is a weird thing because I think when sport meets a skill, right? Playing chess is a skill. You need to know how to calculate all the moves and have a feel for what people are going to do. And the skating aspect of it is a total skill. You need to just spend hours and hours and hours and learn how to skate, but you also need to be a really great athlete. So it’s like you need to have this skill, to showcase your athletic ability. And I think that’s what I really loved about it.

Mike Sarraille:
So a lot of people don’t have insight into what a traditional day is for you training. Walk me through that. Cause I’m assuming there’s time on the ice, there’s time in the gym, there’s time for flexibility. What does that look like for an Olympic level competitor?

Adam Rippon:
I think, okay, also I know that this is stupid but I didn’t realize how much time I was spending doing it, until I wasn’t doing it anymore. But a normal day if I was training. So let’s go back to like 2017. Okay, we’re going to the ring together. I don’t want to wake up that early. It’s like 10 o’clock, okay? I’m not a SEAL Team Six member. 10:00 AM is kind of what we’re [crosstalk]

Mike Sarraille:
First off, I don’t know what SEAL Team you just mentioned. Let’s reset from the … I have no knowledge.

Adam Rippon:
Okay, so 10:00 AM, does that feel good to you?

Mike Sarraille:
That feels good.

Adam Rippon:
Okay, felt good to me. So that’s when [crosstalk]

Mike Sarraille:
But what time were you up?

Speaker 3:
Nine.

Adam Rippon:
Nine. Yeah. Yeah. We’re really not pushing it yet. So I’d wake up. I’d have breakfast. I’d get started. And then I would head to the rink, I’d be at the rink around 10 o’clock.

Mike Sarraille:
Okay.

Adam Rippon:
So then we’d be at the rink. I would do a lighter workout for about an hour. So I’d be in the gym over there for about an hour, then I would train and I’d be on the ice for about two hours. Then after that I would do another light workout. And then-

Mike Sarraille:
And when you say a light workout, what does that look like?

Adam Rippon:
Basically, so in skating, when we do all of our jumps and our spins, you have a side that’s your dominant side. So when I would land a jump, I would only land on my right leg, so everything is on your right leg. So when I would do a light workout, we would do different stability exercises, so that your body isn’t too unbalanced. And so we would do a lot of that stuff to keep the body in line. So we would do band work. It would basically look like a workout at Curves.

Mike Sarraille:
Well actually Tom Brady is doing lot of those same type of workouts.

Adam Rippon:
Yeah, and he’s doing fine.

Mike Sarraille:
I think we could both agree there.

Adam Rippon:
Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
Yeah. When you say you were right side dominant, is that because you were right-handed?

Adam Rippon:
Yeah. So when you’re young, your coach will kind of see which way you naturally want to spin or do all of your different elements, and then from there they’ll just teach you in that order. I think it’s better to be right-handed because also all of our patterning on the ice is the same, and you kind of go with like the flow of traffic. So if you’re lefthanded, everyone’s always in your way, and you’re always in everybody else’s way. It’s tough. Being lefthanded is tough.

Mike Sarraille:
My wife is in the crowd raising her hand, she’s lefthanded, so she may disagree with that. You you say balance, but still were the workouts to build just your right side a little stronger than the left?

Adam Rippon:
So basically a lot of our weight training, and a lot of what our workout would be, we would do that on the ice. So it wasn’t a lot of weight training. Basically everything we would do on the ice, then we would take that off the ice and we would try to realign ourselves and do a lot of lower body stuff. Not a lot of upper body stuff.

Mike Sarraille:
[crosstalk] So predominantly first skaters it’s lower body strength, I would assume?

Adam Rippon:
Yes. So as a single skater, which I was, I skated by myself, we had no upper body, we did not do anything. Because you want to be as light as possible, and so your trunk is obviously going to be much bigger and thicker. And so we would focus on the legs, and basically when you do all of the jumps, there’s not any sort of arm strength or upper body strength that you need, you just don’t want them to get in the way. So when you rotate and move them around, when you’re doing all of the elements, you move them in a way that they catch the least amount of air as possible.

Mike Sarraille:
Okay.

Adam Rippon:
So we did tons of core, obviously, but no upper body. So that’s the first half of the day. And then we would just repeat that again so that … You’re following me?

Mike Sarraille:
I’m following you.

Adam Rippon:
And then I would go home because I am actually a crazy person. And then I would wear this sauna suit.

Mike Sarraille:
The sweatsuit?

Adam Rippon:
Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
Like wrestling.

Adam Rippon:
Yes.

Mike Sarraille:
Yes.

Adam Rippon:
And then I would go for a jog in it every night, for about 40 minutes.

Mike Sarraille:
That’s a long job.

Adam Rippon:
Yeah. Especially when you’re sweating your ass off.

Mike Sarraille:
So you were training from 10:00 AM to … What do you think?

Adam Rippon:
At midnight. I would probably in the middle of that, because I would postpone this run as long as possible. So obviously it was like, I should have done it at 8:00, but I would wait until midnight.

Mike Sarraille:
Midnight. So before we get to the mid-roll break, I know you came out and talked in the New York Times about body image. And do you feel you were living a unhealthy life in a sense while you were competing?

Adam Rippon:
I think being an elite athlete, isn’t a healthy thing.

Mike Sarraille:
[crosstalk] degrees do you get? Peak performance is not intended to be sustained.

Adam Rippon:
Right. And I think to be an elite athlete, you have to push yourself to do crazy things to be competitive. And I think when you have an opportunity to look back on it, you realize some of the insanity you put yourself through, and you realize that like … I’m really grateful for a lot of people who have these conversations of mental health and talking about eating disorders and stuff like that, I think it’s really important because it helps other athletes get to a point of being elite, without doing a lot of the mistakes that someone like I would’ve made.

Mike Sarraille:
Well, that’s the whole intent, right? Each generation passes on to the next [inaudible].

Adam Rippon:
Totally. Yes.

Mike Sarraille:
Don’t do what I did. To what degree were there external factors in that push to be so thin, [crosstalk], is that the sport or was that internally drained by you?

Adam Rippon:
So for me it wasn’t a body image thing. It was, I could see who was having success around me, and I saw that they were thinner, and I was being as logical as possible and was like, “Okay, if I want to be better I should just get thinner.” And so that’s when I absolutely went overboard. Do you know what kefir is?

Mike Sarraille:
No.

Adam Rippon:
It’s like that liquidy yogurt. It’s basically what old grandmas eat. And I would just have a bottle of that every day. That’s-

Mike Sarraille:
Okay, so let’s step back to your diet. Your diet was …

Adam Rippon:
So basically the year getting ready for the Olympics I was much healthier. I was probably like the healthiest version of myself, because the year before I had broken my foot, and I feel like I totally broke my foot because I was just eating like Bob’s Bread. You know that nut bread?

Mike Sarraille:
Yes.

Adam Rippon:
Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
How many calories?

Adam Rippon:
I was probably having … I mean obviously I had some binges here and there, but on a day where I was like, “Oh, I did a good job.” Was probably having like 600 calories. Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
That’s one of my meals.

Adam Rippon:
Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
That’s one of my six meals a day.

Adam Rippon:
That was one of my days.

Mike Sarraille:
What were the adverse …

Adam Rippon:
See the craziest thing about it is that I was skating really well, and that I was getting a lot of praise for being so lean and fit. And I still wasn’t the smallest person there, so nobody was worried about me. And I also didn’t think, I thought I was just doing what I needed to do. So I was like, “I don’t have a problem.” But then all of a sudden when you like break your foot just walking to go put your skates on, which is how I broke my foot, I was like, “Okay, this might be something I have to address now.” Cause I knew it was something I would deal with but just later, because it didn’t feel like an issue I was actually having. Cause I didn’t have an issue. But then when you look at it you’re like, “Yeah, just having bread and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter isn’t a day meal.” It is delicious though.

Mike Sarraille:
Well that is wildly, I think we all agree now wildly unhealthy. Maybe not the best for your body, cause I’m sure it threw your hormones off wildly off with that few calories. But you broke your leg, is it true the doctor looked at you, because he said, “Hey, you’re probably out for quite a while.” And you said, “Hey, that’s not going to work.” [inaudible] and he said, and I quote, cause you said, “I’ll be ready four months.” He was like, “You’re a delusional bitch.”

Adam Rippon:
Yeah. Well I am a delusional bitch, so it did make complete sense. So I remember I broke my foot, it was almost a year to the day of Olympic qualifiers. They would be in a year in that time. And I remember where I broke my foot at the rink, and I remember looking out this window at the rink, and was like, “You know what? I’m going to take this time.” I don’t know what happened, but I was like, “I’m going to be fine. I’m going to move out to Colorado Springs.” Because there’s an Olympic training center out there. So it was like, “I’ll move to Colorado Springs for a few months. I’ll get my shit together. Blah, blah, blah.”
That being said, that window at the rink, it isn’t there, but I still vividly remember looking out a window, obviously delusional. So I remember just having this clear vision of like, “I’m going to get it together, and all of these, …” Of course in that moment, every kind of mistake that you’ve made comes to like, “Oh, if I had done this, this wouldn’t have happened.” Or whatever. So in that moment I’m like, “You know what? I’m going to work with the best people who are out there, and I’m going to make sure that I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m going to use this as an opportunity. I don’t need to worry about any of the shows that they would do in the summer. I don’t need to worry about doing any other competitions. I have a year to get ready for the Olympics that everybody else doesn’t have, because they have to still do so many different things.” So in that moment that’s where I was like, “I’m going to use this to my advantage.”

Mike Sarraille:
You know the average person they’d look at you and they may say your life in general is delusional?

Adam Rippon:
Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
You know that [inaudible]? Driven beyond means. Driven beyond means. And you looked at a guy who probably went to school for eight years to get his degree, doing his expert opinions. And you were done. Like I appreciate your input.

Adam Rippon:
Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
I’m going to disregard that and all your education. Get out of the way.

Adam Rippon:
I mean, it’s just, it’s totally wild. Truly if you set your mind to it, you’ll find a way there somehow. And there was always so many different points of my life where I was like, “I don’t know how I’ll get there, but I won’t worry about how I’ll get there, I just want to keep focusing on when I’m there, this is what I’ll feel.”

Mike Sarraille:
You know, watching, going through special operations, assessment selection to make it in managed media, the SEALS, the green berets, the [marshoks], they’re all [inaudible] to love all these communities. You quickly learn, especially when you go back as an instructor and watch it, is that the body is so resilient, it will go for days. But the mind, the mind is the number one thing for a lot of people which will break. I’ve seen a lot of guys quit SEAL training, that could have kept on on going. Their bodies could have kept on ongoing, it was just absolutely their mind.

Adam Rippon:
Yeah. I mean, obviously I can’t relate.

Mike Sarraille:
No you can. You were at the international level.

Adam Rippon:
I can relate to it because there were just so many times where I just completely disassociated my mind from my body, and was like, “Just think of your whole body as like you’re a robot. Just keep going. You can keep going, just take your mind completely out of it.” And that’s how I got through a lot of training sessions. That’s how I got through a lot of competitions and events, that I just pretended that I wasn’t living in my own body.

Mike Sarraille:
I’m upset you’re not staying in Austin a little longer, cause I would’ve love to see what you consider one of your hardest workouts. And I’m assuming it would put me to the test, but just to go through it, I’d love to see that. So we’re going to have to link back up when you-

Adam Rippon:
We will. Yes.

Mike Sarraille:
Okay. Good. Well, before we go to mid-roll-

Adam Rippon:
One of my hardest workouts now, you can obviously make it through that now. It’s more mimosa based.

Mike Sarraille:
I just worked out with Tim Kennedy, who’s a big UFC fighter, former green beret, well still a current green beret. He and his squad crushed me to the point where I was not walking around normal for about three days.

Adam Rippon:
No, you’ll walk around normal with me. I promise. You’ll be fine.

Mike Sarraille:
So before we go to mid-roll, and we’re taking about a five minute break, we ask our guests two hard questions, and you can totally say, “I default until after the break.” If you want to think about this.

Adam Rippon:
Okay.

Mike Sarraille:
Hardest decision you ever made?

Adam Rippon:
Okay, I’ll answer it. I won’t default. I think the hardest decision I ever made was moving out to California. Because I moved out to California almost 10 years ago, and when I moved there it felt kind of like my last chance, to hope and make an Olympic team or make something really meaningful of my skating career. And when I moved out there, I didn’t have anything. I remember I had $80 in cash, that I went to like a Bank of America and was like, “Can you open something with cash?” And they’re like, “Yeah, it’s a bank.” And I was like, “Okay, I get it.” And that’s it. And from that moment, I just relied on really amazing people around me. I lived in my coach’s basement. It was scary, but it’s like a point of my life where I’m so grateful, and it’s like the best thing that ever happened to me

Mike Sarraille:
So that begs a question for Olympic athletes. Are they too scrounging to make it by?

Adam Rippon:
Oh yeah. Only the athletes, especially in like a niche sport, like skating, where it’s something that you watch every four years, if you’re in the general public. Right? So only if you’re at, I would say like if you’re in the top five in the world, you’re making money. Top five, top six. You can make money because you’re medaling at a lot of your events. You’re getting asked to do a lot of the shows. So you can make a nice living. And in the last few years, I was making a, for a skater, very decent living. Because I wasn’t the best, but I was in the mix of the guys at the top. So I was able to make a decent living for myself, which I mean, I basically was able to pay everybody back from when I couldn’t afford it.

Mike Sarraille:
Are there any countries that support their Olympic athletes better than we do?

Adam Rippon:
You know …

Mike Sarraille:
And I know that’s loaded question.

Adam Rippon:
It’s super loaded, because in the U.S., that athletes aren’t supported by the government. So everything is through private sponsors. So when the U.S. athletes go, it’s like Tide pods and like McDonald’s. That’s how we got there, through those sponsorships and through private donors who enjoy the Olympics, and they love watching the Olympics and they love supporting athletes. So all of that funding is through sponsorships and donors.
In a lot of different countries, it can be sponsored by the government. So it’s like a government program that has money always there and allotted, and they can invest in different trainers or doctors or specifically buy an ice rink just for one coach. So it’s totally different. I know some of my Italian friends, their athletic department is sponsored through their military. So they’re all members of the military. And again, it’s another government program. So in the U.S. it can be very tough, where there’s a huge drop off. If you’re not in that upper echelon, you’re scraping by.

Mike Sarraille:
So I naturally thought our government subsidized, with the Olympic training center and everything.

Adam Rippon:
That’s all private. Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
Interesting. Okay. I just learned. Last hard question before we go to break. Hardest regret, or I should say the biggest regret in your life, thus far?

Adam Rippon:
You know, actually I’m grateful for all of the times that I’ve like made mistakes, and I feel like they feel like regrets, but I used to be regretful of those mistakes, but I’ve realized that if I carry them with me and I actually learn something from them, I won’t make them again, and they’re important for where I would like to go. So I think the only regret I have is that I didn’t come to that mentality sooner, because I would’ve felt less embarrassed about the shortcomings I’ve had. I would’ve felt less embarrassed or like ashamed that maybe I didn’t go to an Olympics sooner. Cause the Olympics I competed at was the third one I tried to qualify for, and I think I was really defining my whole career on that. Which it’s just a competition.

And once I was able to let go and be like, “You know, you made mistakes, that’s why you didn’t go. It’s not unheard of to make mistakes. People make mistakes.” And I think also something that athletes, 99% of athletes go through is they have this moment where they’re like, “Okay, I’ll never be the best. I’ll never be like the Olympic gold medalist. I’ll never be the world champion.”

And I was a really good athlete, like I am a national champion and I’ve been to an Olympic games, but there is this weird sort of you wrestle with this fantasy of yourself that might not come true. It’s not even a come to terms, it’s more realizing that, especially in sports, being the best is so circumstantial, and it really has nothing to do with the amount of work that you’ve done or haven’t done or could you have done more? It’s like, “How tall are you?” Like, is this the shape of a person that’s doing really well? Are we really focused on jumps or is it more about performance?” And that comes and goes in waves. And it’s having this realization with yourself that the best … You’ll remember and sometimes you won’t, how you placed, but you’ll always remember how you felt at those events.

And so there was a moment where I really had to focus inward and be like, “Yeah, if I am my best, that is my version of success.” And I had more success from it. I won more medals. I was making more money. I was on Olympic teams. I won a national title, had an Olympic medal. So it was in that mentality of letting that go. Because it was this fear of like, “Is it ever going to happen? Is it ever going to happen?” And it was like, “No, it’s not, but that doesn’t mean you’re not good at this.” And I think it was realizing that and I could let go of what felt like regrets.

Mike Sarraille:
That is the best answer we’ve ever had on any podcast. We’ve had some pretty prolific guests. It is part of life, and those things that went wrong, if you learn from them, then they provided you the greatest lessons in life.

Adam Rippon:
Hundred percent.

Mike Sarraille:
And it’s amazing, sitting here with someone who was on the international stage, saying, “I was never going to get that gold medal.” You got that bronze medal, which 99.9% of the bigger skating community will never reach …

Adam Rippon:
Totally. Yes.

Mike Sarraille:
… and you are good with it.

Adam Rippon:
Because that color, I’m so happy with what I was able to do because I won my medal in the team event, and I’m so proud of the way that I was able to help my team and skate for my team in that moment, that I can’t control the way that y teammates may have skated if we didn’t medal, but I know that I did everything I was asked to do in that moment and I was a real asset to my team. And so the medal was so secondary. And when I think of the medal ceremonies at the Olympics and stuff, when I was on the podium, and it’s an amazing moment but in that moment you realize like, “This isn’t for me, it’s for my mom to watch. This is for my coaches to see.” My moment was when I got to skate and I got to do what I wanted to do, and I did my job the way that I wanted to do it. But that moment of getting that medal, it’s a necklace. It’s nice. Really. Listen, I want to keep it, right?

Mike Sarraille:
I’d say it’s a pretty coveted necklace. And you have your whole nation behind you. And after the break we’re going to get into that, especially because you had broken some barriers with your moral courage, and I want to get into that for the everyday warriors listening to this. Warriors within the respect profession, you demonstrated moral courage that previous generations did not have.

Adam Rippon:
Well, I appreciate that.

Mike Sarraille:
Okay. So we’re going to take a break for our sponsors and we’ll be right back.cAnd we are back with Adam Rippon. Thank you.

Adam Rippon:
Thank you.

Mike Sarraille:
So before the break, I wanted to ask this question. This is almost like asking somebody over their forties what their age is. How much did you weigh during that period where you felt you were doing what’s necessary to compete?

Adam Rippon:
I think now when you think like, did I have a problem or was I obsessed with it, that I can give you, the very specifics? So I weighed 147 pounds, and I knew that I was okay if I was living within the range … So my Olympic weight was 147, and it would be like 147 to 150. I would live in this three pound range. And I knew that if I was over 150, it was like … I never went over 150, but when I was not eating anything, honestly it wasn’t that. I couldn’t push myself to lose any more weight than what I had. I was like 142 to 145, but it was this five pound difference that was pivotal to me being a healthier athlete.

Mike Sarraille:
What are you weighing now?

Adam Rippon:
165.

Mike Sarraille:
And do you feel you’re the healthiest you’ve ever been?

Adam Rippon:
Yeah. Sometimes I look at older pictures of myself and I’m like, “Wow.” It’s so crazy because in my world everybody was like, you know I would make like fat jokes about myself, and everyone would be like, “Ha, yeah, you’re right.” And now when I see it I’m like, “That is so crazy to me that this person would be like, “I have weight to lose.”” In the last few years, obviously, when you train for the Olympics, I didn’t personally know how to go to the gym and not train for the Olympics. So I didn’t enjoy any of it, and I like realized it was something that I loved, and that I needed to find a way back into it. So over the past year I’ve been getting back into working out and stuff, and so I gained more weight up on top that I just didn’t have before. I’m still a few pounds away from you though.

Mike Sarraille:
My wife would say different. She thinks I need to lose about 10 pounds. That’s the house I live in, and the abuse I go through. In that sort of same vein, what is your diet and workouts now? Are you still skinny?

Adam Rippon:
No. No. I like-

Mike Sarraille:
So you’ve just sort of given it up?

Adam Rippon:
Yeah. I wouldn’t say like, give it up. I’d be like, “Don’t do it anymore.” Right? I still have it.

Mike Sarraille:
When you step on the ice, does it evoke certain …

Adam Rippon:
No.

Mike Sarraille:
No?

Adam Rippon:
I mean, I still love it, but it is sort of like I enjoy going skating and I have friends that I used to train with and stuff that will go to the rink and we’ll skate together, and it’s always fun. But there’s this like frustrating moment of like, “I can’t do what I used to do.” So like, “Okay, what am I going to do?” Yeah. It’s weird. So I enjoy being on the ice, but I don’t really skate very often, but I make an effort to go because I do enjoy being out there.

Mike Sarraille:
So for your diet and your workouts, do you have a system? Do you have a trainer? Are you following a specific diet because-

Adam Rippon:
Now?

Mike Sarraille:
Yeah.

Adam Rippon:
Honey, it’s a free for all.

Mike Sarraille:
It’s a free for all.

Adam Rippon:
Free for all.

Mike Sarraille:
Yeah?

Adam Rippon:
Yeah. I’m barely getting by. No, I’m kidding. I’m not kidding. I think now it was also totally changing my relationship to food, and changing … It was everything because I live at, this might shock you at a very intense level, and it was like having a healthier relationship with food and realizing to like, you can enjoy it because I never enjoyed food. I would eat it because as somebody who’s trying to go to the Olympics, it was just my version of gasoline. So I’d just eat whatever was the leanest whatever, and just eat that. So I never ate because I enjoyed it, and I’ve slowly learned how to do that. My husband, he loves to cook. So that’s great because my version of cooking is truly just making toast and cereal.

Mike Sarraille:
Sounds like my wife. I’m going to pay for that comment later, you know that, right?

Adam Rippon:
We get each other.

Mike Sarraille:
Yeah. So let’s dive in because, again, the title of the podcast is Everyday Warrior, and I believe, and I know some people hear that and they’re like, “I’m not a warrior.” And I’ve tried to explain the concept to them, they sort of warm up to it, and you are a warrior within your respective profession. In your profession you went to the top. I mean you’re a bronze medalist in the Olympics, but you’ve also taken on a new fight. And as I was doing research, in the article in 2015, you came out as the first openly gay figure skater.

Adam Rippon:
Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
And I was actually shocked, by 2015. I thought that would’ve been like 1998, 1990s. First off, the moral courage that must have taken, because not only socially do you open yourself up, and nobody wants to open themselves up to the, what I call the keyboard warriors, the people I don’t respect.

Adam Rippon:
Yeah. Totally. Yes.

Mike Sarraille:
Who just want to fling insults. So you opened yourself up to the public, but there was also, from what I read, fear of how you may be judged by the judges in the actual Olympics.

Adam Rippon:
Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
Dude, you got to walk me through just your mindset going into that, your motivators, was it enough enough?

Adam Rippon:
So the mindset actually of why I even wanted to, because I think ideally everybody’s sort of like, “There’s no reason to come out. You should just be able to be yourself and do whatever and it doesn’t matter.” And I think to everyone in my friend circle, my family, my coaches, they all liked who I was, and they could’ve give it a shit.
But the first time I felt like it was something that like, “Oh, maybe I’ll have to talk about it.” Was in 2014, the Olympics were in Russia, and they had this anti-gay propaganda law, which it was super unclear what that meant, like what would it mean if somebody spoke up against it? And I felt like if I made that Olympic team, if I said something, was I putting myself or my family or my teammates in danger? Was I going to ruin their experience? And I never really said anything, I would just defer the question. And I never made that Olympic team, so it didn’t matter.
But in those next few years after … You know, not making that Olympic team was super devastating, and it was probably the lowest I felt as an athlete, because it felt like that was my time. And I had missed my time, so now it was coming to terms with, “Okay, you’ll never go to the Olympics. You’ll never do all of these things that you thought you would.” And I had this kind of Renaissance a few months after this very low point of I was like, “I’ll do one more competition. I’m going to train for it the hardest I’ve ever trained for anything in my life. This will be the last one. I don’t care if I get first. I don’t care if I get last, but whatever. If I get last but I’m proud of it, I’ll be the happiest last place person ever.” And that’s what I kept telling myself. And I skated the best I ever skated. And I was like, “Oh my God, no, I can totally do this.”
And so in that moment of feeling like I really had nothing to lose, that’s when I was like, “Okay, I want to redo a lot of those things that I wish I had done before.” And one that was really important to me, was being an out athlete. So in those years after not qualifying for that Sochi Olympic team, I was like, “I’m going to redo all of this fucken dumb shit that I should have done when I had the opportunity. I’ll redo it now.” So I used it as an opportunity to do that from that younger version of myself. And so in a way I was lucky because like I wasn’t a national champion at that point. I wasn’t an Olympian at that point. So the audience that I am telling like, “I’m gay,” to is small, but it was a personal thing for me to be able to share it.

Mike Sarraille:
You know it’s amazing. You just said when you sort of said, “Screw it, what do I have to lose?” How your perspective on things change.

Adam Rippon:
Totally.

Mike Sarraille:
I remember, when I was an officer, but the SEAL that came up to me was enlisted and he saw that I was uncomfortable speaking to crowds, which funny enough, fast forward, that’s what I do for a living. And he said, “Hey, Mike, I came up with this theory.” And he said, yeah, I hate to swear, he said, “It’s my fuck it principle.” He said, “Fuck it.” He said, “Before I do anything that I naturally have a fear of, I say, “Fuck it.”

Adam Rippon:
Totally.

Mike Sarraille:
So if you’ve got a crowd of a thousand people, you say those words, what is the worst that’s going to happen? You be yourself, you be vulnerable, and just be you.

Adam Rippon:
Yeah. And, I mean-

Mike Sarraille:
And if people don’t accept you then screw them.

Adam Rippon:
That is a hundred percent what I do and do now, and I experimented with like, you know if you don’t have anything to lose, which at that point I had truly nothing to lose. But in those moments, I never acted on the defense. I was so aggressively going towards things, because if I fell flat on my face or if I didn’t do it, it didn’t matter. It truly didn’t matter. It didn’t mean that I would have less than what I had at that moment, cause in that moment I didn’t have anything. So it was like failing didn’t scare me anymore, and once I wasn’t scared to fail, I actually was the most successful.

Mike Sarraille:
So when that article came out, let’s focus very little on this, but did you receive a lot of negative …

Adam Rippon:
No, there’s just I received like almost no attention from it. And I knew that that would happen, because I just talked about my own personal coming out experience in this article, and it wasn’t about anything other than getting ready for some season or something. But I talked about it and it was in there, and then I was then a publicly out athlete. So there just was not a lot of like … It didn’t get picked up anywhere. I didn’t expect it to. It was like, “What, the kid who didn’t make the Olympics?” Like, “What does he have to say?” So it was to a really small group, and just skating people, who they would reach out to me and they were very nice about it. So my coming out experience as an athlete, was very positive. Because it was to people who knew me.

Mike Sarraille:
But I have to assume for some teenage skater who was struggling with the same thing, I’ve got to assume you had some outreach where people are like, “Hey, thank you. Thank you’ve giving me the courage to be who I am.”

Adam Rippon:
I didn’t realize at the time, because for me it’s my personal experience of it, right? But I didn’t realize, and I see it especially now, especially four years from my own Olympic experience, as an athlete, I see four years how the landscape has totally changed, and it’s great. It’s amazing, but I couldn’t have imagined the way that it is now, four years ago.

Mike Sarraille:
Really.

Adam Rippon:
Totally. It’s all foreign. Because I have a big mouth, and I run it all the fucken time. And so I think for a while it was just sort of like, “Oh, Adam just does his own thing.” And it’s interesting now to see the ripple effect of that now, that not everybody’s going to have like a big mouth like I do, but they’re able to kind of be more of themselves in this weird sort of like athlete box.

Mike Sarraille:
Do you think that’s going to be your defining impact? Again, you competed at the Olympic level, but do you think that’s going to be … I mean, to me, I hope the answer’s yes, because that’s an awesome impact. The path you have blazed for so many young men and women, who are fearful of the judgment that they’re gay, when in retrospect, and in reality, this is coming from San Francisco, but …

Adam Rippon:
Right.

Mike Sarraille:
… so what?

Adam Rippon:
Yeah, I think especially somebody kind of like me, who’s pretty loud, and I like to speak my mind, and what I make up for being five eight in shoes, cause I’m five seven without them.

Mike Sarraille:
Well we’re have to get in some cowboy boots, that will give you at least two inches. We’ll work on that.

Adam Rippon:
Yeah, I make up for it with talking. But I hope that when I can look back at what I’ve left in the sport that I was doing for my whole life, that I was able to help other young skaters, or other young athletes, feel like who they were wouldn’t define the kind of success that they could have. Cause I felt like when I was young that it might.

Mike Sarraille:
And so for your work and for your courage, you were recognized in 2018, this human rights campaign, Visibility Award, what did that mean to you? Was that a realization for you? Was it a, ah-ha moment?

Adam Rippon:
Not really, it was just all kind of surreal because it all happened so fast.Even when you go to the Olympics, whatever sport you compete in, everything around it is different, but everything in what you’re doing is exactly what you’ve done a million times. You’ve probably competed at that rink before. You’ve definitely competed against all of those people before. You know all of the judges. They’ve judged you for years. You know all of the faces. So all of it is so familiar, and it doesn’t feel like this experience. And still when I’ll see things or I’ll talk to people now, I still have this weird sort of like, “Oh, it’s much bigger than I even could have imagined it.” It’s very strange. It’s very strange to go on basically this one month trip, and come back and your whole life is totally different.

Mike Sarraille:
And eventually you went against Mike Pence, but I’m assuming that maybe those were a few words that turned into something bigger?

Adam Rippon:
Well, so basically, when you get ready for the Olympics, a lot of people talk about like, “You want to have the best experience.” Like, “Have a great experience at the Olympics.” And I was thinking about, for me, what’s the best experience? And I was like, “Well, for me, the best experience I can have at an Olympics would be I can meet a lot of people. I’ll get to be stupid and make a bunch of people laugh, but I’ll also be able to showcase who I am as an athlete, but I’m going to have a lot of fun.” And for me that also meant that any question I was asked, I told myself I would answer it, like I was at dinner with somebody, very candidly. I would be super honest.
And I remember I did one interview, in my car, right before the Olympics. And the rink that I trained at it used to be a grocery store. So it’s in this strip mall, it sounds very glamorous. It was in this strip mall, so I’m literally in like a taco Bell parking lot. And I remember that I was doing this interview on the phone, and the woman who was doing the interview, she asked me, she was like, “What do you think of Mike Pence leading the athlete delegation?” And I remember this was a moment where I was like, “Okay, I can either live up to that promise of answer this the way that you would at a dinner table, or just give it the answer of like, “You know, I don’t really have any thoughts on it. I’m focusing on myself.” But I was like, “No, I don’t care. I’m going to say what I think.” And that’s all that was, and it snowballed into something so much …

Mike Sarraille:
Bigger,

Adam Rippon:
… bigger, and so much crazier than I ever thought it would. And I’m glad it did, because I think for a lot of queer people in that moment. I know for me, it felt like in that moment that it was … The last administration was so polarizing for people, that I think that they just felt like … I know I had moments like that where I was like, “I don’t think I matter.” I felt maybe things will go backwards. It was scary, it was weird, and it felt like a moment of … I think somebody like me, when you see me, I think for a long time people think like, “Oh, you’re a gay best friend. You’re a sidekick.” And I think for somebody like me, I was like, “Oh my God, wait, I can be like the main character.”

Mike Sarraille:
As everyone should be of their own story.

Adam Rippon:
Of their own story, yes.

Mike Sarraille:
Adam, I can assure you, you are not a side kick. You’re winning Olympic medals, dude. That’s so funny, but that’s society putting that in your head.

Adam Rippon:
Totally. And it’s like your own expectation of what you’re capable of, right?

Mike Sarraille:
Okay. We’re jumping ahead to season 26 of Dancing in the Stars, which first off, which was probably one of the most competitive seasons-

Adam Rippon:
I mean, it was very good.

Mike Sarraille:
But I mean, there were …

Adam Rippon:
Just athletes.

Mike Sarraille:
… let’s say international level athletes, all competing. And I know it was a shorter version, but going into that, what did you think your chances were?

Adam Rippon:
I mean, I really didn’t think about it. Again, it felt like it was right off of the Olympics. So I was like, “Oh, this is just a continuation of like that experience.” So I remember thinking like, “Oh, it’ll be easier for me.” Truly the only advantage I had was that I’ve worn a costume before. And then I had no idea. My best way to describe doing Dancing With the Stars, is if you have a week to learn a sentence in a different language, and you can master it and then you’ll know it. And you’ll know that one sentence, but you don’t know any other fucking words, and you don’t know anything else. You don’t have a basic understanding of the vocabulary or anything, but you’re able to get this one sentence down, and that’s truly what it is.

Mike Sarraille:
Do you credit the fact that you guys won, a lot to Jenna?

Adam Rippon:
Oh, totally. I mean, because she’s an amazing teacher. It’s again like when you have great teachers, it makes the work so much easier, you enjoy it and, yeah, my partner Jenna was absolutely the best.

Mike Sarraille:
Yeah. You still keep in touch with her?

Adam Rippon:
Yes.

Mike Sarraille:
Yeah?

Adam Rippon:
Yes.

Mike Sarraille:
Okay. What about Tanya?

Adam Rippon:
What about Tanya? What do you want to know? I’ll tell you anything.

Mike Sarraille:
Had you met her prior to that point?

Adam Rippon:
No, because in skating Tanya Harding is like the boogie monster.

Mike Sarraille:
Still to this day?

Adam Rippon:
Yeah. She’s not allowed at events. She’s not allowed to coach. She’s not allowed to be present. She’s banned. Completely banned. So she’s truly like the big bad Wolf.

Mike Sarraille:
Did you get some time with her?

Adam Rippon:
A little bit.

Mike Sarraille:
How was that? What were your impressions? I’m putting you on the spot here. No comment is totally [crosstalk].

Adam Rippon:
I mean, what do you think? Like white trash, But I am white trash, so I can say that. It was like any lady I would’ve met in Scranton. Right? Fair?

Mike Sarraille:
I’m sure you just made a lot of enemies in Scranton with that comment.

Adam Rippon:
I already had them.

Mike Sarraille:
Okay. Okay. As we sort of wind down in this podcast, you’re 32 years old.

Adam Rippon:
I know.

Mike Sarraille:
I say that and I’m like, “It’s just so damn young.” And I see the people in the crowd are like shaking their heads. What’s important to you moving forward? You’ve got to be thinking of that. You’ve already cemented your legacy, by one, the Olympics, by two, having the moral courage to be the first openly gay athlete. Where do you go from here?

Adam Rippon:
That’s a great question. I like turn into a pool of water. When I think of when I had the most success as an athlete, I focus on what I enjoyed the most from those experiences. And the experiences that I’ve had since, I’ve been able to use a lot of the tools that I’ve learned as an athlete. Like I really enjoyed the planning, the training, but I’ve always loved performing in front of people. I’ve always loved making people laugh, and I’ve had a lot of opportunities to kind of go more into the entertainment world, and I’ve loved it and I’ve enjoyed it so much. Some work doesn’t, but some does feel like super purposeful, and one thing I’m able to do, I feel like I’m able to like no matter who the person is or whatever, I feel like I’m able to connect with like anybody. I do truly feel like I could walk into any room and leave and be friends with everybody. And I want to be able to continue to do that and to be able to keep doing things that I really enjoy.

Mike Sarraille:
You’ve never met a stranger.

Adam Rippon:
No, that’s a great way of putting it. Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
So media and going down that pathway, is something of the interest to you and-

Adam Rippon:
Yes. Yeah. I love it. I’m really grateful for the opportunities that I’ve had, but all of them I’ve enjoyed so much.

Mike Sarraille:
You’ve got the personality, I have no doubt that you’re way ahead, but a good mentor of mine said, “Mike, you’ve got a face for radio and a voice for TV.” So I guess I’m screwed. And you are recently married?

Adam Rippon:
Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
How’s that? How’s that? So you met your husband over Tinder.

Adam Rippon:
Yes. I did give.

Mike Sarraille:
Give the quick story there, because that is just the new norm.

Adam Rippon:
So a few years ago I was in … He’s from Finland, so I was in Finland, and I was at a competition. Obviously, I told you, super focused on Tinder and we matched. We never met, and then we talked for months, and then we finally met, and then …

Mike Sarraille:
Where did you guys meet? he came to the States?

Adam Rippon:
We met at LAX …

Mike Sarraille:
Okay.

Adam Rippon:
At the airport. And at first I didn’t know, that sounds like a bad idea, right?

Mike Sarraille:
It sounds like a bad idea, but if you canvas so many people that have flown men or women in from far. Yeah, it’s a gamble. Anything’s a gamble.

Adam Rippon:
Life is a gamble.

Mike Sarraille:
Going on a first date with somebody you meet at the bar, from that quick interaction, that’s a gamble.

Adam Rippon:
That’s also a gamble. Yeah. That’s the original Tinder, meeting someone at a bar.

Mike Sarraille:
All that Tinder and Bumble have done, is expedite the process. A lot of people are like, “Yeah, hey, that’s not a way to meet somebody.” No, it’s absolutely a way to meet somebody, it’s [crosstalk]. It expedites the process.

Adam Rippon:
Yes.

Mike Sarraille:
And here’s the other thing too. My wife talked about this all the time. We didn’t meet on Tinder or Bumble, but we both were on it is, anyone who tells you that attraction is not the first ingredient, is lying through their teeth.

Adam Rippon:
Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
You don’t look at a girl across the bar and says, “Hey, I’m not physically attracted to her, but I bet she’s got a great personality.”

Adam Rippon:
I know. Here’s the thing, I’ll tell you though, about my Tinder profile. My now husband, was like, “I remember looking at your pictures and you had such a beautiful smile.” That smile, I had Photoshopped because I was starting my Invisalign, and I was like, “I’ll just kind of move my teeth around to the way that I know they’ll end up.” Eventually, that was my smile, but at the time it wasn’t.

Mike Sarraille:
When your husband on Tinder, had you already won the …

Adam Rippon:
So we Met on Tinder before the Olympics, and we met in person after.

Mike Sarraille:
Okay.

Adam Rippon:
Yeah. And he’s told me that it was a very odd experience …

Mike Sarraille:
To watch you on TV?

Adam Rippon:
Well, it was all of a sudden, one day he saw the newspaper in Finland and I was on the cover of it. And he was like, “This is this guy from Tinder?” So it’s funny to hear his perspective of everything, because I truly was just some random person, we were talking with each other. Yeah, his perspective of it is very interesting.

Mike Sarraille:
Did you have any competition photos on your profile?

Adam Rippon:
No.

Mike Sarraille:
No.

Adam Rippon:
I had one or two skate, and I think I had one skating one where I was on the ice, because I was like, “Maybe that’ll work.” It didn’t really work. I mean it worked eventually, I got a husband out of it.

Mike Sarraille:
So he sees you in the front page. I mean that’s just points. That’s points.

Adam Rippon:
Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
I tried that with my wife, I leaned in on our first date. I’m like, “Hey, let me tell you something.” Cause I was at the time still, I was still an [inaudible]. I’m like, “Hey, I’m a Navy SEAL.” And she looked at me and she’s like, “Oh, awesome.” Had no clue what it is. It was the first time that I had ever gone on date with a girl that didn’t know what it was. And I had to be myself from there, and so it was just a real struggle from that point.

Adam Rippon:
Well, because with JP and I, I was like, “We’re never going to meet, so I don’t care.” So we would talk and I would truly be actually honest for the first time. We just would ask each other intense questions, and I would actually answer them super honestly, because I was like, “I’m never going to meet this person.” And then obviously we became very close because of just really having no guard up from the beginning.

Mike Sarraille:
How’s he adjusting to the L.A. life?

Adam Rippon:
He loves it.

Mike Sarraille:
He loves it?

Adam Rippon:
Yeah. He loves it.

Mike Sarraille:
Where where did he live before?

Adam Rippon:
He lived in Helsinki before.

Mike Sarraille:
Okay, so he came from a larger city.

Adam Rippon:
Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
Okay.

Adam Rippon:
No loves it. And we live outside of the craziness of Hollywood.

Mike Sarraille:
Yeah. Pasadena.

Adam Rippon:
Yeah, Pasadena. Pasadena’s great. So it’s very walkable, so it’s my favorite part of California.

Mike Sarraille:
Except for the taxes.

Adam Rippon:
Exactly. I don’t love those. I’m still finding a way to not pay them, but it’s not working.

Mike Sarraille:
It is every American’s duty to pay as less taxes as possible.

Adam Rippon:
Hundred percent.

Mike Sarraille:
Hundred percent.

Adam Rippon:
Yeah. Anything you can write off. If anybody here has any extra receipts, I will take them. You and I will use them.

Mike Sarraille:
You just put a bullseye on your back for the IRS.

Adam Rippon:
It’s okay.

Mike Sarraille:
You’re getting audited in 2022.

Adam Rippon:
I know, I know it.

Mike Sarraille:
You heard it first here. Well, as we close out, again, we ask two questions for the listeners.

Adam Rippon:
Okay.

Mike Sarraille:
Again, our everyday warriors, warriors within the respected professions that are trying to live their best lives, and you’ve lived a multitude of lifetimes within your 32 years. How will Adam measure if he’s lived a fulfilling, purposeful, impactful life? When you’re 70, what is it that you’re going to look back and be like, “I lived well>:

Adam Rippon:
I’m 32, hopefully there’s many more years of me to do things that I’ll be proud of, but for what I’ve done so far, I’m very proud of it. And sometimes I think about, like, I can’t believe that in those moments actually stepped up to the plate. It feels unreal, and it feels like I don’t know how I did that, but I think for what I’ve done so far, I’m very proud of. And I think that I won’t focus too hard on what I want my legacy to be, or whatever I want to leave behind. I feel like life has led me to circumstances where I could either take advantage of them or not, and I think that that’s what will continue to happen.

Mike Sarraille:
My old man, again, who’s been right about 99% of the things, and he’s born and raised in San Francisco, built his own little empire. Good, good man, and my finest man said, and he saw me struggling. “Life is a mystery to be lived, not a puzzle to be solved.

Adam Rippon:
Yes.

Mike Sarraille:
So just take it as it comes. Lastly, again, we all have fundamental principles by which we live our lives. What are those one to three principles, your keys to success up to this point, that you’ve lived your life by, that maybe myself can take on board to live a better life?

Adam Rippon:
I think there’s two things that I take with me to everything that I do, and the first one is that nobody cares. Because everybody’s so focused about what does everybody else think, that when you finally realize like, oh, everybody’s thinking that. They don’t care about what you’re doing. And even if they talk shit about you, they’re going to do it for five minutes. Even if they’re railing you behind your back, and you have no idea, it’s only for five minutes and then it’s done. Then they really don’t care. And I think that I always look to people who I seemingly think don’t care what people think, and I really admire them, and I’m like, “Yeah, I should live more like that.”

Mike Sarraille:
When did you come to that realization though? What age?

Adam Rippon:
I would say I started caring less probably five years ago. And obviously there have been times where I’ve cared more, and it’s you have to get to a realization again of like, just let it go. It doesn’t matter that much. And the other thing is, go into every situation like you have nothing to lose. And every time I feel like I have nothing to lose, it’s that letting go of the fear of failure. And when I’m able to do that, I feel if things don’t go the way that I want, it’s okay, I can learn from it, but I never see it as something bad. And I used to see it as something bad. So those are the two things that I take with me into everything that I do.

Mike Sarraille:
So you see the upside of failure now? It’s part of the process of life?

Adam Rippon:
Totally. Yes. 100%.

Mike Sarraille:
Well, Adam, thank you for joining us for this episode of the Everyday Warrior. First off, from all of America, thank you for representing our nation, and kicking ass, and more so thank you for the moral courage for doing, on the social side what you think is right, for a lot of young men and women that look up to you man. Thank you and I mean that.

Adam Rippon:
Oh well, thank you. And thank you for your service. I …

Mike Sarraille:
Well, dude, I was happy to do it. Trust me, I was surrounded by men and women that were better than me. So to all the listeners, thank you for joining us on this episode of the Everyday Warrior podcast, brought to you by Men’s Journal. Don’t forget to subscribe to the show and pick up the newest edition of Men’s Journal Magazine, which I’m in.

Adam Rippon:
I’ll be picking it up, don’t worry.

Mike Sarraille:
I would sign it for you, but actually the value of the magazine goes down when I sign it.

Adam Rippon:
I doubt that.

Mike Sarraille:
We had an expedition where we all skydived into the Mount Everest region, which was cool. I was definitely nervous as hell, cause I just had a hip replacement. But Men’s Journal, why I took this deal and I love this company is it’s packed with amazing features on health and fitness, which are both important to both of us, even more so with my thing, adventure and travel. Are you much of a traveler?

Adam Rippon:
You know, yeah. Unconvincing, right?

Mike Sarraille:
Do you wish you had traveled more?

Adam Rippon:
I should travel more. Yes.

Mike Sarraille:
Yeah. As everyone should. And even traveling, if you only have a budget to go from California to somewhere in Nevada or Arizona-

Adam Rippon:
Yeah, totally. Yes.

Mike Sarraille:
… do it. We also cover style. The coolest gear hit in the market, and I’ve got to ask you, what is that one device you always have on you? Other than your cell phone, that’s the easy answer.

Adam Rippon:
Okay. Device I always have with me. I mean, it’s cell phone oriented. My laptop, I need to have my laptop around, or a portable charger.

Mike Sarraille:
You said a portable charger …

Adam Rippon:
Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
… is your everyday carrier?

Adam Rippon:
Does that work for you?

Mike Sarraille:
I’d agree.

Adam Rippon:
Thank you.

Mike Sarraille:
I’d agree.

Adam Rippon:
Okay.

Mike Sarraille:
All right. And [inaudible], next time, I’m Mike Sarraille your host. Thanks for joining us.

Episode 10

Everyday Warrior Podcast Episode 10: Aaron Franklin
In our tenth episode of the Everyday Warrior podcast, we spoke to BBQ pitmaster Aaron Franklin.
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Episode 11

Everyday Warrior Podcast Episode 11: Nick Shaw
In our eleventh episode of the Everyday Warrior podcast, we spoke to Nick Shaw, former professional powerlifter and bodybuilder.
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Episode 12

Everyday Warrior Podcast Episode 12: Shannon Sharpe
In our twelfth episode of the Everyday Warrior podcast, we spoke to Shannon Sharpe, sports analyst and former professional football player.
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Episode 13

Everyday Warrior Podcast Episode 13: Tecovas Founder Paul Hedrick
In our thirteenth episode of the Everyday Warrior podcast, we spoke to Paul Hedrick, founder of Tecovas, Austin-based cowboy boot retailer.
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Episode 14

Everyday Warrior Podcast Episode 14: Mel Tucker
In our fourteenth episode of the Everyday Warrior podcast, we spoke to Mel Tucker, head coach at Michigan State University.
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