Earlier on Sunday it was reported Men’s American figure skater, Adam Rippon, would join NBC as a correspondent for the remainder of the Winter Olympics. Later in the day, however, it was revealed that after giving the opportunity more thought, Rippon decided to decline NBC’s offer.
Rippon took to Twitter to further explain his reasoning.
“I am flattered that NBC wanted me to work as a correspondent for them here in PyeongChang. Doing this would require me to leave Team USA and move out of the Olympic Village. I don’t want to do that so I had to [decline] the opportunity. I love being on Team USA and representing our country. My teammates were there for me during my events, and now I NEED to be there for them. I look forward to being with them, and I’m very excited for the rest of the competition. Go Team USA!!!”
The bronze medalist winner has kept a high profile during the PyeongChang Olympic Games. The first openly gay American athlete to medal in the Winter Olympics for team USA, Rippon questioned Vice President Mike Pence being chosen to lead the U.S. during the Opening Ceremonies. Rippon criticized the Vice President’s stance on LGBT rights, leading to a back and forth between Pence and the Olympian.
The plan was to feature Rippon on multiple NBC digital platforms as well as broadcast television and social media. Rippon’s popularity and following has continued to grow throughout the Olympic Games, his addition to NBC would have been received well by many viewers.
The addition of Rippon would have been a positive story for the network which has struggled so far during their broadcast. Overall NBC’s TV ratings during the 2018 Games have been down from the Sochi Olympics in 2014. NBC’s coverage has also come with a multitude of apologies from different broadcasters and analysts.
Gold Medalist Red Gerard used profanity during an interview which NBC failed to cover up, analyst Joshua Cooper Ramo was removed from the network’s coverage after saying every Korean looks to Japan as an example. Analyst Bode Miller apologized for an attempt at humor, stating skier Anna Veith’s performance has been affected by her marriage. Katie Couric apologized for saying skating is an “important mode of transport” in the Netherlands, leading to the Dutch success in Olympic speed skating.