CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses eating disorders.

American figure skater Adam Rippon has spoken candidly about his former struggles with disordered eating, admitting that he once subsisted on three slices of bread a day while undertaking a gruelling training regimen.

Rippon, whose strong showing in the long program of the team event helped secure bronze in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, has told The New York Times that he has previously felt pressure from judges to cut weight from his already-athletic frame – and that he’s hardly the only male figure skater to experience an unhealthy relationship with food.

“It makes me dizzy now to think about it,” Rippon told the paper in the lead-up to the Games.

The 28-year-old Olympic debutant said he has moved on from his former diet, which he claims contributed to severe lack of nutrients. He stated a deficit of necessary vitamins and minerals may have also exacerbated a stress fracture in his foot, which sidelined him for much of the 2017 season.

Rippon now eats according to a program from an Olympic Committee dietician, which aims to complement each athlete’s genetic gifts. In Rippon’s case, that means he’s now better able to nurture his powerful leg and glute muscles, which enable him to complete wildly impressive airborne manoeuvres.

???? On to the long program tomorrow! #uschamps18

A post shared by Adam Rippon (@adaripp) on

The athlete says his decision to discuss his issues with body image and disordered eating will help other male competitors speak about their experiences and engender change within the sport. He admits that reasoning mirrors what he hoped would happen when he came out as gay in 2o15.

While Rippon is using his newfound fame to expose the issues facing men in the sport, the effects of disordered eating among figure skating’s female contingent have been prominent for a long time. America’s Gracie Gold has announced she’s taking a break from the sport to undertake treatment for an eating disorder. Russian skater and Sochi team gold medallist Yulia Lipnitskaya has withdrawn from the sport entirely to receive treatment for anorexia.

The athletes may be speaking out about the insane pressures they face in the quest for a certain aesthetic ideal, but it’s now up to the sport’s leading bodies to address the standards which engender such harmful practices. David Raith, head honcho of U.S. Figure Skating, told the NYT “we’re very sensitive to what’s happening, and as we go forward we will learn from this experience”.

Hopefully so. You can read the full piece right HERE.


If you’d like to talk with someone about disordered earing, you can contact the Butterfly Foundation for assistance by calling 1800 334 673. Source: The New York Times
Image: Steve Russell / Getty