Winter Olympic figure skater, Adam Rippon, will retire from the sport professionally.
The 29-year-old became a household name in the US for his defiant stance against Vice President Mike Pence during the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.
He won a bronze medal at those games and has since become an outspoken LGBTI advocate.
In an emotional letter posted on CBS’ Note to Self series, Rippon wrote to his younger self.
The figure skater told his younger self to be proud of his efforts.
‘You are going through a really tough time right now. 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,’ he wrote.
‘Take a moment and be proud of yourself.’
Rippon described the sacrifices he made for his sporting career including whether to pay for groceries or rent ice time to practice skating.
‘You work so hard, but you are even harder on yourself,’ he wrote.
‘Now, listen, this part is important: Stand up, walk to a mirror, look yourself straight in the eye and tell yourself: you are a winner. You won’t see one looking back at you yet, but do this every day and you’ll really start to learn what being a winner is. Being a winner is a mindset.’
In the letter Rippon described coming out as gay as ‘like you’ve grown wings’.
‘Do you remember growing up in Pennsylvania, thinking that being gay was something you would never tell anyone?’ he wrote.
‘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”.’
‘Oh, and when you wax your eyebrows, start talking about how great they look. It’ll be a hit.’
Rippon congratulated himself on taking risks and becoming a role model.
‘You are a man now. You’ve challenged yourself and taken risks,’ he wrote.
‘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.’