Adam Rippon
Team USA figure skater Adam Rippon decided not to take NBC’s Winter Olympics correspondent offer out of respect for his teammates. Pictured: Rippon competes during the Men’s Single Free Program on day eight of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Ice Arena on Feb. 17, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. Getty Images/Harry How

Figure skater Adam Rippon has turned down the offer to join NBC as a correspondent in Pyeongchang, South Korea, for the remainder of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

During an appearance on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) on Monday (Sunday night in the U.S.), Rippon said that he decided not to take the offer out of respect for his teammates.

“I am so flattered that NBC wanted me to work as a correspondent, but if I took this opportunity, I would have to leave the Olympic team and I would have to leave the (Olympic) Village,” told NBCSN’s host Liam McHugh (via USA Today). “It’s so important to me, you know, I worked so hard to be on this Olympic team, and my teammates and my friends were there for me during my events, and that meant so much to me, that I really feel like I need to be there for them during their events.”

Rippon, who helped the U.S. win a bronze medal in the figure skating team competition, shared the same explanation on Twitter.

According to People, Rippon’s team initially accepted the offer. But soon after Rippon realized that he would have to relinquish his official Olympic standing, give up his Olympic credential, move out of the Olympic Village, and not be allowed to march in the closing ceremony, Rippon ultimately changed his mind.

Before Rippon turned down the offer, NBC spokesman Greg Hughes told USA Today that the 28-year-old athlete would work on a variety of NBC platforms, including TV, digital and social media, as a Winter Olympics correspondent.

Rippon, who is the first openly gay man to compete for the U.S. in the Winter Olympics, previously made headlines when he criticized the White House’s selection of Vice President Mike Pence to lead the 2018 U.S. Olympic delegation to South Korea.

“You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy? I’m not buying it,” Rippon told USA Today last month before revealing that he would prefer not to meet Pence during the traditional meet-and-greet between the official delegation and U.S. athletes in the hours leading to the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics.

“If it were before my event, I would absolutely not go out of my way to meet somebody who I felt has gone out of their way to not only show that they aren’t a friend of a gay person but that they think that they’re sick,” Rippon said. “I wouldn’t go out of my way to meet somebody like that.”

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