NBC was left reeling Monday after skating star Adam Rippon pulled the plug on becoming their face of the Olympics.
The broadcaster had planned to propel the bronze medallist, who has come out as gay, to prime time TV stardom after seeing that he had become a bit hit with viewers and trended worldwide as number one on Twitter.
The first sign that NBC had failed to pull off its coup came at the Gangneung Ice Arena, where Rippon had won his bronze, failed to appear on screens as part of its ice dancing coverage team.
Skating anchor Terry Gannon confirmed he had not been officially told of Rippon’s hiring and was confused.
Adam Rippon – one of the breakout stars of the Games – revealed he had declined the offer
The figure skater tweeted: ‘I am flattered that NBC wanted me to work as a correspondent for them here in PyeongChang. Doing this would require me to leave Team USA and move out of the Olympic Village. I don’t want to do that so I had to declined the opportunity’
Skating anchor Terry Gannon (pictured on Monday) confirmed he had not been officially told of Rippon’s hiring
As he came off air from broadcasting live today at the skating rink, he told DailyMail.com: ‘I just read that he was joining NBC like everyone else this morning. Nobody has told us anything.
‘But now you’re telling me his saying he is not going to be doing it (presenting). I’m sorry. I don’t know anything about that either.’
He said he believed Rippon would have been a huge success in the role had he accepted it.
This afternoon Rippon took to Twitter to inform his 362,000 followers that he had declined the offer.
He tweeted: ‘I am flattered that NBC wanted me to work as a correspondent for them here in PyeongChang. Doing this would require me to leave Team USA and move out of the Olympic Village. I don’t want to do that so I had to declined the opportunity.
‘I love being on Team USA and representing our country. My teammates were there for me during my events, and now I NEED to be there for them. I look forward to being with them, and I’m very excited for the rest of the competition. Go Team USA!!!’
He also revealed he found out about the job offer on Twitter, adding: ‘2018 is wild girl’.
Adam’s father Rick Rippon joked Monday: ‘I read that Adam has been hired by NBC to cover the rest of the Games. Maybe I can get my cable bill reduced.’
But he added: ‘It is amazing that all these wonderful things are happening for Adam.
Rippon, who won a bronze metal in the team skating competition, has made headlines for his hilarious and sometimes controversial comments.
During an interview with USA Today, the athlete took issue with Vice President Mike Pence leading the U.S. delegation in South Korea.
The figure skater, 28, who has been one of the breakout stars of the Games,is the first openly gay man to win a medal for the United States at any Winter Olympics
Rippon finished in 10th place at the Men’s Single Free Program this Saturday
‘You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy?’ he said. ‘I’m not buying it.’
He has also said he will be one of a few athletes who won’t be attending a post-Olympics celebration hosted by president Trump at the White House.
Donald Trump Jr took to Twitter last week to slam the wildly popular pro-athlete after Rippon said that despite his comments, he didn’t want ‘his Olympic experience to be about Mike Pence.’
‘Really? Then Perhaps you shouldn’t have spent the past few weeks talking about him. I haven’t heard him mention you once???’ Trump Jr. wrote.
Before he got bronze, Adam and freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy this year became the first openly gay men to even compete at the Winter Olympics for the United States.
Rippon finished in 10th place at the Men’s Single Free Program on Saturday.
The bronze-medalist has said he will be one of a few athletes who won’t be attending a post-Olympics celebration hosted by president Trump at the White House
When asked about retirement afterwards, he said: ‘I have no idea. I think at first I need a five-minute break and a really stiff drink and then maybe like a day or two off the ice, at least to dry out my costumes, and then we’ll see.’
Celebrities have gotten into the Rippon-craze, with many reaching out to him to express their admiration.
Britney Spears tweeted at him on Friday: ‘I just wanted let you know that I am a fan, I am not in denial, and that you are THE MOST FUN!! Keep making us all smile at the Winter Olympics and good luck today’ followed by a star and an ice skate emoji.
And an elated Rippon reciprocated Saturday: ‘I could feel you on the ice with me. I now have an OVERWHELMING desire to post Instagram fashion shows, google stock imagines of corn, and paint on the balcony of my dorm in the Olympic village. Thank you for not being in denial, LOVE YOU’ followed by several hearts.
Rippon, who won a bronze metal in the team skating competition, has made headlines for his hilarious and sometimes controversial comments
Britney isn’t the only one trying to woo the Rippon, actress Sally Field has been trying to help her openly gay son to go for the gold with the gorgeous Olympian.
When her son Sam Eisman tweeted a screen-grab of a text conversation he had with her about his attraction to the Olympian, she took matters into her own hands and tagged Rippon.
The screen grab in Sam’s initial tweet showed him joking with his mother over text about how he could possibly ask out Adam.
Sally replied in a text message: ‘Sam… he’s insanely pretty. Find a way..’
Britney sent her love to the Olympic figure skater (right) calling him the MOST fun and wishing him luck
Involved: When Sally Field’s (left) son Sam Eisman (right) tweeted a screen-grab of a text chat he had with her about his attraction to Adam Rippon, she took matters into her own hands
Rippon has reveled in the attention, telling Dailymail.com that he wanted to both prove himself as an athlete and let his personality shine.
‘It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And I wanted to be open and honest about it and fun with the media, it’s a whole part of it that I wanted to enjoy and I enjoyed every single second… I am America’s sweetheart.’
Told that some athletes had taken a lifetime to come out as homosexual, he said he did not see himself as a gay icon, but added, ‘I am just an icon.’
He added: ‘I came here and I wanted to show the world who I was on and off the ice.’
Asked why he had connected with the American public and the multi-million TV audience across the world he said: ‘On some level we can all relate to just being rat s—. And I’m a little rat s—.’