Figure skater Adam Rippon harbored dreams of Olympic glory long before his dazzling games debut this week in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
In a recently unearthed 2003 interview with Pennsylvania TV station WNEP-TV, Rippon, then 13, demonstrated much the same determination as he did Monday when he helped Team USA clinch a bronze medal in the figure skating team event.
Rippon, now 28, had been skating for just over three years when he appeared on the channel’s Newswatch 16 program. He spoke enthusiastically about competing in Europe, taking his first airplane and train rides, and visiting the Olympic museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.
“And then, when you see, like, all these things about other people who have won the Olympics and everything, you think that you’ve done a great thing,” Rippon, a Scranton, Pennsylvania, native, told reporter Jim Coles. “But you’re still so far away.”
The young Rippon, who has since become the first openly gay U.S. figure skater to compete at the games, also had some tips on how to succeed in the sport:
“All the little things that your coach tells you, you always have to remember them. And you always have to try not to overdo it, just to do it. So as long as you remember everything your coach tells you, you’ll be OK.”
Rippon has risen to prominence during his time in South Korea for hitting out at Vice President Mike Pence’s alleged intolerance toward the LGBTQ community, the condoms in the Olympic village, and for joking about wanting “Xanax and a quick drink” on the ice. He has a further shot at gold in the men’s single skating event Friday.
Check out the full interview above.