Olympic medalist Adam Rippon has announced his retirement from competitive skating.
The 29-year-old athlete and Dancing With the Stars: Athletes winner took to Twitter on Tuesday to confirm the news.
“The lessons I’ve learned on the ice I will take with me into everything I do,” Rippon wrote. “Work hard, stay true, be your biggest cheerleader, and GET YOUR CHECK.”
Rippon competed in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and took home a bronze medal for the figure skating team event. The feat made him the first openly gay American athlete to win a medal at the Winter Olympics.
In his tweet, he also shared an article from CBS News, in which he reflected on his career in the outlet’s Note to Self series, where celebrities write messages to their younger selves.
“You are going through a really tough time right now,” Rippon wrote to his past self, who had just missed out on qualifying for the Olympics. “You’ve just missed qualifying for the Olympic team for the second time in a row. You feel confused and you feel like a failure. It might not make sense right now, but this is truly one of the most important moments in your life. Take a moment and be proud of yourself.”
After reflecting on the sacrifices that he made as a teenager to pursue his dreams, Rippon mused about learning that being a winner “is a mindset,” and recalled feeling “so free” after coming out as gay to his friends and family.
“It made you feel so free, like you’ve grown wings,” he wrote. “Do you remember growing up in Pennsylvania, thinking that being gay was something you would never tell anyone? When you publicly come out in the next year, you will let go of what other people think of you. You will hope to give someone else what you didn’t feel growing up: permission to be themselves. You will be saying: ‘You are worthy.’”
Rippon commended his younger self for having focused on “perfecting yourself instead of trying to change yourself,” and opened up about the devastation of suffering an injury at a crucial point in his career.
“You will become a national champion at 26 and your path to the Olympics will seem clearer than ever,” he wrote. “But exactly one year before the 2018 Olympic team selection, you will break your foot. You’ll fear everything you’ve worked for was in vain, but don’t be discouraged. You are strong, you are brave, you can take on anything.”
“You, Adam, will make the Olympic team and skate on Olympic ice, it’ll be a moment you’ve been waiting for your entire life. It’ll be crazy, wild, emotional and very exciting. The world will see your character and they will embrace you for just being yourself.”
Rippon concluded the touching letter by sharing that he can finally “see a winner” when he looks in the mirror.
“You are a man now,” he concluded. “You’ve challenged yourself and taken risks. You make people around you laugh, and help them like who they are. You’ve become the role model that you wished you’d had as a kid. You will look in the mirror and you will see someone you like. You will look in the mirror and finally see a winner looking back at you. Now go out and conquer the world.”
After posting the article, Rippon opened up about his “new life” on Twitter.
“I’m traveling (what feels like almost every day), working all the time, enjoying every second of my new life, and feel so lucky for all the opportunities I’ve been given,” he wrote in the Twitter thread. “Thank you for rooting for someone like me. I will always root for you too. ”
See more on Rippon below.