Before Adam Rippon won a bronze medal for the U.S. earlier this week in the team figure skating competition, he made headlines for being the first openly gay athlete to qualify for a U.S. Winter Olympic team.
Now he is opening up about his body image issues for the same reason he decided to publicly reveal he was gay in 2015—to help others who are experiencing the same thing.
Back in 2016, just before he won the U.S. figure skating championships, Rippon’s daily diet consisted of three slices of whole-grain bread with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. The only other thing on his menu was coffee—three cups, with six packs of Splenda each.
“It makes me dizzy now to think about it,” Rippon told The New York Times.
At 150 pounds, Rippon now weighs 10 pounds more than he did in 2016—and has received plenty of attention on social media for his butt muscles in particular, which he recently had to convince Twitter are real.
But back then, he wanted to resemble the younger skaters on his team. “I looked around and saw my competitors…they’re a head shorter than me, they’re 10 years younger than me and they’re the size of one of my legs,” Rippon told The New York Times.
According to the Times, Rippon was only 10 years old when a former coach told his mother, Kelly Rippon, that he wouldn’t be able to do more advanced skating jumps because of his “heavy bottom,” and tried to get him to take up speed skating instead. After noticing he was eating mostly water-based vegetables as a teenager, his mom…