Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty

Vice President Mike Pence, an anti-gay zealot and restaurant freak, will lead the United States’ Olympic delegation in Pyeongchang next month, which has irked figure skating star Adam Rippon. After winning the 2016 figure skating national championships and finishing fourth at last month’s nationals, Rippon became the first openly gay athlete to be selected to compete for the U.S. at the Winter Games. Rippon spoke with USA Today late last night about the disappointment of making his Olympic debut alongside one of the most virulently anti-LGBTQ politicians in America.

“You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy?” Rippon said. “I’m not buying it.”

[...]

“If it were before my event, I would absolutely not go out of my way to meet somebody who I felt has gone out of their way to not only show that they aren’t a friend of a gay person but that they think that they’re sick,” Rippon said. “I wouldn’t go out of my way to meet somebody like that.”

Rippon contrasted Pence’s fanaticism with Barack Obama’s decision to stack the U.S. delegation at the 2014 Sochi Olympics with openly gay athletes in protest of Russia’s crackdown on gay rights. He also said he wouldn’t attend a post-Olympics celebration at the White House, though he did say he’d entertain the possibility of having an “open conversation” with Pence.