Adam Rippon describes wanting to be the Amy Schumer of the sports world. From the first page of “Beautiful on the Outside,” he delivers. Rippon is laugh-out-loud funny, raw and irreverent.
No subject is off-limits in his memoir as he takes his readers on the rollercoaster ride of his life as a competitive ice skater. From a very young age, he has dealt with stress through humor, asking his mom to tell him jokes so he didn’t cry when she dropped him off at school. That survival tactic has stayed with him, and readers will benefit from his well-honed passion for entertaining.
Most people imagine the lives of elite athletes as filled with hard work and discipline. What Rippon describes cuts much deeper into the reality of sacrifice, dogged determination, and financial cost that often outweighs the benefits of winning prizes.
For much of his teenage years, Rippon lived away from home, staying with friends and coaches to accommodate the needs of his training schedule. His family, with five siblings at home, stretched beyond their limits to support his life as a competitive ice skater and his dream of going to the Olympics. It is truly an endeavor not for the faint of heart.
The difficult personalities of Rippon’s various coaches, some of whom came from the former Soviet Union and retained the quirks of their cultural upbringing, come to life on the pages of the book. For the most part, Rippon’s account is full of gratitude to the people who helped him along the way, and he seems to find the silver lining even in the toughest moments.
Rippon made headlines as he became the first openly gay athlete to make the U.S. Winter Olympic team and the first to win a medal at the Winter Games. He has become an outspoken human rights activist and his memoir is worth reading as he delves into the complexity of coming out on the big stage.
The book will be featured at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3 in conversation with CNN journalist Holly Firfer.