Adam Rippon announces retirement from figure skating

“You are strong, you are brave, you can take on anything.”

Adam Rippon has announced his retirement from professional figure skating.

The 29-year-old, who made history earlier this year by becoming the first openly gay man to qualify for the US in the Winter Olympics, revealed to CBS that he will no longer skate competitively.

In an emotional letter to his younger self, the Olympian wrote: “You are going through a really tough time right now. You’ve just missed qualifying for the Olympic team for the second time in a row.

“You feel confused and you feel like a failure. It might not make sense right now, but this is truly one of the most important moments in your life. Take a moment and be proud of yourself.”

Adam recalled the difficulties he went through for his sporting career, including when he lived in his coach’s basement and how he couldn’t afford groceries.

“You work so hard, but you are even harder on yourself,” he continued. “Now, listen, this part is important: Stand up, walk to a mirror, look yourself straight in the eye and tell yourself: you are a winner.

“You won’t see one looking back at you yet, but do this every day and you’ll really start to learn what being a winner is. Being a winner is a mindset.”

He described his coming out as to having “grown wings”, and assured younger Adam that his sexuality is nothing to be afraid of.

“Do you remember growing up in Pennsylvania, thinking that being gay was something you would never tell anyone?

“When you publicly come out in the next year, you will let go of what other people think of you.

“You will hope to give someone else what you didn’t feel growing up: permission to be themselves. You will be saying: “You are worthy.”

Adam then listed his achievements (becoming “a national champion at 26”), before explaining how his foot injury made him stronger.

“You are a man now. You’ve challenged yourself and taken risks. You make people around you laugh, and help them like who they are.

“You’ve become the role model that you wished you’d had as a kid. You will look in the mirror and you will see someone you like. You will look in the mirror and finally see a winner looking back at you.

“Now go out and conquer the world.”

Since Adam’s win at the Olympics, he has become a champion for LGBTQ equality, and has taken a defiant stance against Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence.

He also made history when he became the first openly gay man to win the US version of Dancing with the Stars.

Watch Adam Rippon announce his retirement for CBS below.

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