The 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics truly were Adam Rippon’s Olympics. He was the first openly gay U.S. athlete to medal at the games in history. He called out the decision to have then-vice president Mike Pence lead the U.S. delegation. He assured us that his butt was real. Oh, and he skated beautifully and masterfully to help Team USA win the bronze medal. If you didn’t know who Rippon was before 2018, you certainly did afterward.
Rippon is back for the Beijing games, this time as a coach for women’s figure skater Mariah Bell. This is good news because figure skating is always better with Rippon at the rink. But, as Rippon informed us all via TikTok, there has been a bit of a wardrobe snag. Rippon, ever the professional, packed several stylish looks for his appearance as an Olympic coach. (This comes as no surprise if you spotted his sumptuous burnt orange coat at U.S. nationals.) But at the Olympics, apparently, Rippon said he can only wear clothing from the Team USA brand sponsors Nike and Ralph Lauren. To which I can only say, what the fuck?!? This is clearly a case of corporate sponsorship run amok!
Because he is undaunted (and because, he said, he packed the outfits not realizing this), Rippon modeled these looks for us on TikTok. And because I believe that, despite the Olympics’ best attempts to turn itself into “a famine of beauty,” these looks must be appreciated, and this must be blogged. Let’s break them down!
Look No. 1 a is full-on Gucci track suit with white sneakers, a long-ish blue coat, and a blue Nike scarf. As Rippon points out in the video, the entire ensemble is red, white, and blue, which should have been more than enough to satisfy the arbitrary rules of Olympic fashion! Also, that’s definitely a Nike swoosh on the scarf, which in my humble opinion should have been enough to satisfy the brand requirements. Rules aside, I love this look but I would not advise trying this at home. Head-to-toe Gucci track suit is a commitment, and not one that us mere fashion mortals might be able to pull off. But this is Adam Rippon! He pulls it off with the help of several contrasting shades of blue between the pieces. Also, the coat and scarf provide a nice touch of softness, keeping it from verging into the land of too-many-logos.
Look No. 2 is, as Rippon put it, “obviously the more elevated of the two.” It’s a Balenciaga button-down shirt, black trousers, black dress shoes with a bit of a pointed toe, and a red-white-and-blue Team USA jacket. It has a touch of “fabulous looking international soccer coach” to it, but with some U.S.A. flair from the coat. I love this look and, once again, must question the integrity of these Olympic rules. Clearly, this outfit is only using the Team USA color palette! It includes a Team USA logo, which I can easily see on the jacket sleeve. No offense to Nike and Ralph Lauren, but you cannot limit a man like Rippon to just two designer brands. It would be like limiting a figure skater to only one type of jump! No! Heresy! I demand that Rippon be allowed a full fashion arsenal.
Yes, there are far, far, far, faaaaaar more important issues to be worried about in these Beijing Olympic games than fashion. But these games are happening. Although Rippon in his TikTok says that he will never be caught breaking a rule, it is worth remembering that some of these rules are really stupid.