Update: Rippon has apparently turned down NBC's offer after realizing that joining the network "would require me to leave Team USA and move out of the Olympic Village."
NBC Winter Olympics coverage may be tanking in the ratings, and taking fire for sloppy broadcasting, but the Peacock is reluctant to let go of the Gayest Games Ever™. The network just announced it has hired Adam Rippon to as a correspondent for the remainder of the Olympics. He will “work for the network on a variety of platforms, including television, digital and social media.”
Rippon’s a gold medal-winning Olympic figure skater, but that’s not really his allure for NBC. The network is just hoping he’ll say something sassy or spidery and generate some buzz for an event that feels as though it’s been going on for about five months. Rippon is gay, outspoken and (best of all!) spiteful toward Vice President Mike Pence.
Unless you’ve been living blissfully in a cave since the start of the games, you’ve heard that Rippon and skier Gus Kenworthy are Team USA’s openly gay athletes. You’ve also heard that if you’re not absolutely, totally just super-jazzed that they -- and their giddy media fans -- can't stop talking about their gayness, you’re a bigot.
You might have thought NBC had maxed out it’s gay skating coverage quotient, as the Mean Girls act of Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir is the toast of enlightened media critics everywhere. But Rippon’s star dust is just too magical to pass up. The media can’t decide whether he’s a “Perfect Millennial Ambassador for US Figure Skating” or just a simple “Gay Rights Ambassador.” And really, why choose?
NBC and the rest of the media are embarrassing themselves with this swoon, and once again proving that satire is dead. As for Rippon, he’ll get every last bit of hype out of this moment. After all, it’s what Brian Boitano would do.