Adam Rippon’s Second Coming-Out Story: He Nearly Starved Himself

however many skaters are more reticent. In recent interviews with nearly a dozen male skaters through the United States, Germany, Russia as well as also also Canada, each said he knew competitors who had battled bulimia, the binge-purge syndrome. however no one volunteered any personal details.

Ron A. Thompson, a consulting psychologist for the Indiana University athletic department, said there was a cultural component to male skaters’ reserve about discussing their body image problems.

“Males are supposed to be stronger as well as also also not need psychological assistance,” he wrote in an email. however he said in which eating disorders as well as also also disordered eating “are not discriminatory, they occur in both genders in all sports.”

According to 2011 statistics cited by the National Eating Disorders Association, 20 million American women as well as also also 10 million men will at some point struggle which has a clinically significant eating disorder.

Jeremy Abbott, 32, a two-time Olympian who retired last year, strives for a healthy lifestyle, however he said in which even at This specific point, “in all honesty, my body image will be probably very low. I’m not in bad physical condition. I possess the concept of in which. however I still kind of look inside the mirror as well as also also nitpick everything.”

Kelly Rippon, Adam’s mother, remembers when his first coach, a woman, informed her in which her son, then 10, might never be able to execute advanced jumps because of his “heavy bottom.” The coach suggested in which Rippon be steered toward speedskating.

The coach’s critique did not sit well with Kelly Rippon, a former dancer who remembers subsisting on sandwiches in which consisted of two lettuce leaves wrapped around a tomato slice. She began to change her eating habits, she said, after the singer Karen Carpenter died through complications of anorexia in 1983.

After noticing in which her son, in his teens, had adopted a diet of water-based vegetables, Kelly Rippon sat him down as well as also also explained why the item was important in which he mix in some protein.


Rippon inside the Olympic team figure skating competition on Monday, when he helped the United States win a bronze medal. Rippon’s mother said his first coach had recommended in which he switch to speedskating because he had a thick lower body.

Chang W. Lee/The fresh York Times

“My mom understands because my mom went through the same thing,” said Rippon, who ate normally for several years as well as also also even bulked up through weight training.

Then he moved to Southern California inside the fall of 2012 to train with Rafael Arutyunyan, a product of the Soviet Union’s coaching system. Arutyunyan took one look at Rippon’s muscles as well as also also sent him straight to an elliptical machine to start shedding pounds.

Rippon also adopted his draconian diet. “I’d do a few days having my three pieces of bread as well as also also then finish the whole loaf of bread as well as also also have 3,000 calories,” he said, adding in which he might tell his coach: “‘Rafael, This specific will be what I’m eating.’ as well as also also he said, ‘I know. the item’s truly hard.’”

Arutyunyan said he had since learned to address his skaters’ weight which has a fresh vocabulary, in his nonnative English, as well as also also realized in which he could not be as blunt as when he worked inside the Soviet system as well as also also thought nothing of calling an athlete “fat.” inside the United States, he said, he has attended seminars in which drove home the point in which “the item’s kind of abusive or maybe they can get sick.”

So at This specific point Arutyunyan will tell his skaters in which they look sluggish or in which they need to be in better shape. “however basically,” he said, “same time I’m thinking, ‘O.K., how I can make elephant to fly?’”

Last year, shortly before nationals, Rippon broke his left foot while hopping to warm up his legs. During his monthslong recovery, he decided to address his diet because he suspected unhealthy eating had contributed to his injury.

“I think I had a stress fracture before I broke my foot,” Rippon said, “as well as also also I think in which was absolutely because I was not getting enough nutrients.”

He began working with Susie Parker-Simmons, a sports dietitian with the United States Olympic Committee, as well as also also as he grew more mindful about eating, Rippon said, a fog of fatigue over him lifted.

“I didn’t realize I was so tired all the time,” he said.

Parker-Simmons’s goal was for Rippon to see food as fuel, not a foe. She promotes healthy relationships with food by encouraging athletes to plant seeds as well as also also eat what they grow. She will also play to their competitive natures by holding contests to see who can create the most delicious meals using nutrient-rich ingredients.

Body composition analysis will be another part of the equation for Parker-Simmons, who educates the athletes on how to get the most out of their genetics, which in Rippon’s case includes his muscular thighs as well as also also buttocks.

“These athletes are so disciplined,” Parker-Simmons said, “as well as also also food will be one of the things they can actually control when they can’t control additional parts of their lives.”

The day after Rippon was named to the Olympic team in San Jose, Calif., he went to a restaurant as well as also also tucked into a lunch of leafy greens tossed in Caesar dressing as well as also also topped with pieces of seared ahi tuna.

“I don’t feel any guilt eating This specific,” Rippon said between bites. “however there will be a part of me in which’s thinking, ‘How nice. I’m treating myself to creamy dressing.’”

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