As the first two publicly out gay men to win medals at the Winter Olympics, figure skaters Eric Radford and Adam Rippon have broken barriers and established legacies that will extend beyond the ice rink.
As a Canadian, however, Radford believes he has one major advantage over Rippon, who is American: He lives under a political administration that supports the LGBTQ community.
“I feel very lucky that I’m not Adam, and I don’t have to deal with that whole political side of things,” Radford, who now plans to retire from competitive skating, said. “I got a call from [Prime Minister Justin Trudeau] … He’s been so supportive and kind and nice.”
He then added, “I give all of my support to Adam and everything that he’s doing.”
After Radford and his skating partner, Meagan Duhamel, nabbed a gold medal in the team figure skating event Feb. 11, he said he’s received “some really, really touching messages” from closeted gay men who say that seeing a queer athlete living authentically in the spotlight “has helped make them feel a little better, and has helped sort of support them in a small way.”
Before the Winter Games officially wrap next Sunday, Radford said he was looking forward to reconnecting with Rippon at the Olympic Village’s Pride House to “soak up that really positive energy there.”
Here’s to hoping Adam takes him up on his invitation!
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.