by Liz Leamy
(11 January 2017) Adam Rippon, the reigning U.S. champion and two-time U.S. silver medalist, announced his withdrawal from the 2017 U.S. Championships due to a fracture he suffered in his left foot when running through jumps during practice at Lakewood Ice in Southern California last Friday.
Rippon, a 2016-17 International Skating Union Championship Grand Prix finalist who scored bronze at Skate America and Trophee Eric Bompard this past fall and also eighth at the 2016 World Championships in Boston last March, said he knew he had broken his foot after hearing a “crunch” in his left (landing) foot when he had landed a jump.
Subsequent results from an MRI indicated that the Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania native was indeed right in regard to his diagnosis, as it revealed he had experienced a sprained ankle and a fractured metatarsal, meaning he would be forced to withdraw from defending his title at Nationals in Kansas City next week.
Despite this turn of events, the talented 27-year old appears to be in a good place, really as he has come to view this as an opportunity to further strengthen himself physically and mentally for the 2018 Olympic season.
“I’m going to grow and use this to be the best version of myself,” said Rippon, who trains with Rafael Arutyunyan. “I will be at the Olympics. I refuse to give myself another option.”
Rippon, who will be off the ice for the next eight to 12 weeks, said he plans to spend next week at home in Los Angeles “letting the swelling [on his foot] come down.”
After that, he will head off to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to concentrate on intense rehabilitation.
“I won’t take this lying down and I feel like I have laser focus to come back from this,” said Rippon in a teleconference call last Monday.
Certainly, this seems to be likely in considering Rippon’s personality and history as a top competitor.
Regarded to be warm, witty and good-hearted, Rippon is also as fierce a competitor as ever, and is known for having a steely resolve that somehow seems to in fact, reflect the section of Pennsylvania where he grew up. (Not coincidentally, this is also the same area where the famous NFL team, the Steelers, happen to be based.)
Over the years, Rippon has proven himself to be a true competitor, having accomplished such difficult feats as acquiring a beautiful and consistent triple Axel and knocking out a tough variety of quads in his programs, among other things.
Last year, Rippon validated himself as one of the sport’s most exciting artists with an electric free skate program set to a Beatles medley, which resonated of Broadway-level showmanship and consistently brought audiences to their feet all season.
Rippon, in response to reporters’ questions about his positive mindset, was quick to credit his mother, Kelly, a lovely and spirited mother of six, who also happens to be very well liked among the skating community, for his remarkable attitude and strength, especially in regard to handling this unexpected situation.
“It comes from the way my mom raised me,” said Rippon about his mother, who is also a life coach. “She always found a way and so can I.”
Meanwhile, Rippon also mentioned the U.S. Figure Skating’s ‘Get Up’ campaign as inspiration right now and said he is looking forward to a solid and successful comeback.
“I will do that because that’s who I am and that’s because I am a champion,” he said. “I’m proud of the competition record I have, but I do feel I have more to give.”