The Olympic figure skater donated a blue-sequined costume and a pair of skates that he wore during one of his routines at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History on Monday.
Capturing the moment for posterity on Twitter, Rippon joked that he wants the items displayed alongside ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in “The Wizard of Oz” that are on exhibit at the Washington, D.C., museum.
Rippon helped the U.S. win bronze in the team figure skating event in February, becoming the first openly gay U.S. athlete to take home a medal at the Winter Olympics. Although U.S. freeskier Gus Kenworthy won a silver medal at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, he didn’t come out publicly until an ESPN the Magazine interview the following year.
These days, the 28-year-old Rippon has been keeping busy with LGBTQ advocacy work and television appearances. In March he announced a GLAAD fundraising campaign in support of the organization’s LGBTQ youth programs, and two months later, he and his pro “Dancing With the Stars” partner, Jenna Johnson, won their season, which featured an all-athlete lineup of celeb competitors.
“I think that to have representation is a big thing,” he told NPR in an interview published Sept. 16. “I made sure that I was skating well so that I was a good representation of my community.”
He’s less confident, however, about a return to competitive skating and has said he doesn’t expect to compete in another Winter Olympics.
“There’s nothing more that I want to accomplish as an athlete,” he said, “and I think it was just the best way for me to end my Olympic journey.”
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