Adam Rippon, who is making waves as one of two openly gay Winter Olympians, comes from a large and loving Pennsylvania family. Both of his parents are entrepreneurs; his mother is a life coach who is a hypnotherapist, and his father runs a company that provides online services to police departments.
Rippon made headlines when he said he didn’t want to meet with Vice President Mike Pence at the Olympics due to what he sees as the VP’s anti-gay views. Pence’s office says the VP never asked to meet with Rippon. Rippon’s mother – whom he often showers with accolades on social media – posted on Instagram from the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympics:
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Rippon’s Mom Taught Him to ‘Treat Everyone With Respect’ & He Praises Her as the ‘Bravest, Coolest’ Person He Knows
Rippon came out as gay in 2015 in a magazine, but he told NBC that he doesn’t want to be defined by his sexuality, and he cited the values that his mother instilled in him when discussing the point (he has not revealed whether he has a boyfriend). “I want to be a relatable example,” he told NBC. “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.”
Rippon’s mother, Kelly Rippon, runs a company called Authentic Change; its website describes it as “a specialized transition and thinking company. It is an international collective of trained experts in all areas of change ranging from the multi-dynamic conditions of the individual, the athletic and performance arena to the corporate environment.”
According to the website, “Kelly holds a Baccalaureate degree in dance and humanities and a Masters degree in Humanities with a concentration in Philosophy. In 1998 she wrote and produced the video, ‘Integrating Dance in Modern Worship’. She is a certified graduate of Coach University, Burnham, England, the world’s most respected leader in life and executive coach training programs.”
The website says that Rippon’s mother is a hypnotherapist who practices “Emotional Freedom Technique,” writing, “She received advanced training in Neuro-lingustic programming at Bennett Stellar University in Ware, England. She is also a practitioner of EFT, (Emotional Freedom Technique). She is a certified life and success coach, Master Practitioner in NLP, Reiki Practitioner and a certified hypnotherapist. She is a member of the International Coaching Federation, American Board of Hypnotherapy and Society of Neuro-lingustic Programming.”
After interviewing hundreds of people throughout the U.S. in a “myriad of cultures,” Kelly Rippon found “that there was universal commonality in people as applied to the search for happiness, across a variety of cultures. Whether she interviewed an individual at a university in London, Los Angeles, or Paris, a coffeehouse in Vienna, Amsterdam or the Pacific Northwest, or even in the smallest of fishing villages in Split, Croatia, Genoa, Italy or along the delta of the Mississippi there was a common thread that links a person to happiness,” the website says.
Adam Rippon lauded his mom on Instagram on mother’s day, writing, “My mom is the bravest, coolest, and funniest person I know. She pushes me to be better than I think I can be. I’m sure at times she might think that she helped create a monster (me😈) but she taught me to be confident, to believe in myself, and to be resilient. I take those lessons and apply them to everything I do in my life. She taught me to be strong and I am strong. But, when I grow up (I’m still pretty young ALRIGHT?!) I want to be as strong as her. I love you, @krippon. Happy Birthday ❤️”
2. Rippon Has Five Siblings & Grew Up in Scranton, Pennsylvania
Adam Rippon is from a large family. He was born on November 11, 1989 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the oldest of six children, according to NBC. Rippon’s early years were marked by health problems. “He was born with an eye infection and an 80 percent hearing loss. Before his first birthday, both were corrected. He also survived a severe respiratory condition and his appendix burst at age 5,” NBC reported.
Rippon sometimes posts photos of his many siblings on Instagram.
He didn’t even start skating until age 10 and didn’t like it at first, the network reports. However, he quickly took to the sport, and earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic team in PyeongChang. Rippon has needed the trait of perseverance to make it to the Olympics. He recently broke his foot, but he battled back to the ice. “This year has been wild but I’m so grateful for everything it has brought me. It started by me breaking my foot. In the process of my recovery, I got so much stronger,” he wrote on Instagram. “I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life and I’ve never felt more prepared to take on a new year. I’m so proud of myself for how far I’ve come, I love the person I’ve become, and am so excited for what is ahead. My resolutions this year are to continue growing, take risks, be fearless, and be hotter than ever. Happy 2018! 🙌🏻🙆🏼♂️❤️”
3. Rippon’s Family Still Lives in Pennsylvania & He Likes to Visit ‘Chocolateworld’
Rippon told PennLive that his family is still in Pennsylvania, but that he likes to come visit as often as he can. “I always like to go to Hershey and to go to (Hershey’s) Chocolate World. A few of my favorite things in Pennsylvania are Tastykake and, from my area specifically, Gertrude Hawk, which is a chocolate company,” he told the newspaper.
Rippon posted a joking photo of fellow skater Nathan Chen on Instagram, writing, “I love my mom because she tagged Nate in an old Christmas pic because she ‘wanted to tag everyone’ as 1 of my bros doesn’t have Instagram. Naturally, I decided to add Nathan into the Rippon tradition properly, 20 years later (before he was born💁🏼♂️). So, from the City of Angels, we are here to bless your holiday 👼🏼”
4. Rippon’s Mother Gave Him Ice Skates When He Was 10 & Put Bells on His Shoes
Rippon’s mother helped spark his love of skating and Olympic career when she gifted him with a pair of ice skates when he was 10, PennLive reports. They were a birthday present, and he says they made him feel free.
In a throwback post, Rippon wrote of his mom, “My mom used to put bells on my shoes so she could hear me when I would run away. Should prob rock this look again. #LoveYouMom #Tbt.”
Asked to fill in a sign that said “I wouldn’t be at the Olympics today without __________,” Rippon wrote my mother, although he later held another sign in a post on Instagram that read “my haters” instead. Rippon was so dedicated as a child that he would attend 6 a.m. ice skating practices before attending Catholic School. Me getting ready to go to school after a 6am practice in my catholic school uniform circa 2000. Keep working hard little guy!
5. Rippon’s Father Owns a Company That Provides Online Training to Police Departments
Rippon’s father’s cover photo on Facebook is of his son, Adam. The father’s name is Rick Rippon. His Facebook page says that he is President at Netrastar, worked at WNEP-TV, studied at University of Scranton, and lives in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. Adam’s father is from Scranton, Pennsylvania.
In September 2017, Rick Rippon wrote on Facebook, “I was surprised to look in the Sunday paper and find that my company, Netvoice, was voted Best Web Design Company in the Readers Choice Awards! Thank you for your votes!”
On LinkedIn, Rippon described his company, writing, “Netrastar provides free daily online training to police departments, fire departments, and EMS organizations throughout eastern and central Pennsylvania. Some of our clients include the Scranton Fire Department, Scranton Police Department, Wilkes-Barre Police Department, Wilkes-Barre Fire Department, Hazleton Police Department, Hazleton Fire Department, Clarks Summit Police Department, and nearly 20 EMS organizations throughout eastern PA.”