Look out Johnny Weir, there’s a new gay figure skater in town and he’s coming for your crown.

27-year-old Adam Rippon is a U.S. figure skating champion and 2018 Olympic hopeful. The 5’8 cutie from Scranton, Pennsylvania recently sat down with Team USA to talk about being an openly gay athlete.

“Being gay isn’t what defines me,” Adam says, “but it’s a big part of who I am and I like to talk about my coming out because that’s when I started to own who I was as a person.”

Related: Johnny Weir opens up to psychic about his ‘terrible divorce,’ wonders if he’ll ever love again

He continues: “When I came out was when I was able to breathe. When everyone knew, I didn’t feel like I was hiding anything. I didn’t feel like I was putting on a show. I was being me and it was easy. It was a lot easier to be me than to be who I thought I was supposed to be.”

It took him a while to get to that point, though. For years, Adam says he didn’t want to believe that he was gay. In part, because he didn’t want to be a stereotype.

“A lot of times it’s taboo, especially with boys, like, ‘You skate, you’re gay,’” he says. “That’s not always the case, but that being said, you feel a little shame. Being gay and a skater, you don’t want it to be true.”

He continues, “For as many years as I was like, ‘No, I’m not gay,’” he explains. “The first time I kissed a boy, I’m like, ‘I definitely am gay!’”

Related: Adam Rippon’s Secret To Winning National Skating Championship: “I’m Like A Witch!”

Adam says coming out helped improve his sport.

“I went out and I felt like I was performing as myself and not a character. That’s really what helped push me to win my first national title.”

Today, Adam’s focused on making the 2018 Olympic team. And he’s looking forward to doing so as an proud out gay elite athlete.

Check out these shots from Adam’s Instagram page…

https://www.instagram.com/p/BVutBsyFPEW/?taken-by=adaripp&hl=en

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