Chen, Rippon close PyeongChang Olympics with redemption, serenity
ANGNEUNG, South Korea – Before Adam Rippon took the ice for his Olympic free skate warm-up, he saw Nathan Chen, who was minutes removed from a spectacular performance.
“I gave him a big hug, and I said, I’m so proud of you,” Rippon said. “Because I am. I see how hard he works. He had the weight of the world coming into this.”
Chen and Rippon, two men who have shared a coach for five years but are opposites in demeanor, age and skating style, will look back on these Olympics in vastly different ways.
The calm Chen was asked to sum up his first Olympics in one word.
“Three words,” he said. “Up and down.”
Rippon didn’t attempt a quad – as expected – but was proud to finish 10th after making the Olympics in his third and last try. He broke into tears on the ice in what may have been his last competition. Unlike Chen, Rippon is not committing to skating at next month’s world championships.
“To skate three clean programs, to finish in the top 10 and to come away with an Olympic bronze medal [in the team event], I’m coming away feeling like a champion,” said Rippon as all three Americans made the top 10 (Vincent Zhou was sixth). “Sometimes they say that somebody’s life changes after the Olympic Games, and a lot of times they say it’s the gold medalist, but I really think that I’m going to be one of those people.”