In what’s being called “the worst kept secret in figure skating,” openly gay American figure skater Adam Rippon revealed that while training for the 2018 Winter Olympics, he basically developed an eating disorder. It turns out this Adam Rippon eating disorder story is just one of many in the sport.
The New York Times reports, “It was 2016, and Rippon was subsisting mostly on a daily diet of three slices of whole grain bread topped with miserly pats of the spread I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. He supplemented his “meals” with three cups of coffee, each sweetened with six packs of Splenda.”
Lighter bodies allow figure skaters to execute quadruple jumps more easily. At the time, the 5’7″ Rippon weighed 140 pounds, and he’s not the only openly gay male figure skater to starve himself.
While training for the 2010 Winter Games, Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir consumed only one meal a day, “always before 5 p.m.,” he said. Apart from the meal, he would subsist on coffee and sometimes allow himself “a small piece of dark chocolate or a spoonful of caviar” as a small pick-me-up
Openly gay former Olympic skater Brian Boitano told The New York Times, “It’s the same now as it was in my day, and I think it’s all figure skaters. We all live during our Olympic careers, and after our competitive careers, with an interesting relationship to food.”
He added that when an ice skating judge tells you to lose four pounds before your next competition, there’s not always time to figure out how to do it healthily.
Ron A. Thompson, a consulting psychologist for Indiana University’s athletics department, says male athletes tend to stay quiet about their eating disorders because “males are supposed to be stronger and not need psychological assistance,” but he adds that eating disorders “are not discriminatory, they occur in both genders in all sports.”
The National Eating Disorders Association says 10 million men will struggle with an eating disorder at some point in their lives. The LGBTQ community is especially susceptible to eating disorders and body dysmorphia. Among males who have eating disorders, 42% identify as gay.
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Featured image via Adam Rippon Instagram