Rippon made history becoming the first openly gay Winter Olympian during the Pyeongchang games earlier this year and his openness was a major step forward for LGBT+ awareness in sport.
Returning to the USA with a bronze medal in hand, Rippon was one of the heroes of Team USA, not only blazing a new trail on the worldwide stage by being open about his sexuality, but also making a stand for queer rights at home.
Ice skating has had many benefits for the athlete. He won an Olympic medal, became a celebrity, used his platform to stand for LGBT rights but also nabbed himself a boyfriend while competing in Finland.
The two seem to be moving quickly with recent reports that the couple are moving in with each other, but he confesses to Attitude's November Awards issue that his training regime did stop him from going on dates.
He says: "For so long I said no to everything. I wouldn’t hang out with anybody, I wouldn’t date anybody, I wouldn’t do anything because I was so consumed and focused on my goal.
"Finally, I had to get to a moment where I was like, 'Relax and just chill out. If you go out, you can go out and dance and have a drink or two, that doesn’t mean you need to get blasted and not know where you are the next morning; you can still go out and enjoy yourself in moderation, and you can go out on dates with people. As long as you’re not doing anything to harm the way that you’re gonna feel the next day if you have practice.'
"I would really guilt myself into not doing anything. So, it wasn’t so much that I had to tell people 'no', it was that I needed to start telling people 'yes' because I cut myself off and I think that’s why I didn’t come out until I was in my twenties.
"I said to myself, 'I’ll just deal with it later. I won’t deal with this now. When I’m done competing and skating, that’s when I’ll deal with all of this', but it all kind of caught up with me. Coming out ended up making my skating better because I was a more well-rounded person when I got to the rink."
Read more about the winners from the Virgin Holidays Attitude Awards 2018, powered by Jaguar in the November Awards issue of Attitude, out now.