GANGNEUNG, South Korea — Adam Rippon doesn’t want his monthlong dispute with Mike Pence over the vice president’s record on gay rights to overshadow his long-awaited Olympic performance.

Or those of the rest of the American team.

One of two openly gay U.S. athletes at the PyeongChang Games, Rippon criticized the White House last month for choosing Pence to lead its official delegation for Friday’s opening ceremony.

Pence has been considered an opponent of the LGBT community after the conservative vice president signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act while serving as governor of Indiana.

Critics say the legislation encourages discrimination.

“I don’t want to make this too much for my competitors and for my teammates,” Rippon said after an afternoon practice session Thursday. “I’m just kind of focused on the competition. The opening ceremony is tomorrow. I don’t mind talking about it but I don’t want to distract my teammates.”


Pence, who arrived in Seoul on Thursday, also tried to bury the story. He tweeted to Rippon: “I want you to know we are FOR YOU. Don’t let fake news distract you. I am proud of you and ALL OF OUR GREAT athletes and my only hope for you and all of #TeamUSA is to bring home the gold. Go get ’em!”

Rippon’s practice session ended before Pence’s tweet, but his mother, Kelly Rippon, told CNN she objected to the vice president calling the story “fake news.”

MEN’S SKI JUMPING: Andreas Wellinger of Germany will take his strong form into the final of the men’s normal hill ski jumping.

Wellinger, 22, who already qualified because he was among the top 10-ranked jumpers on the normal hill going into the event, beat defending Olympic champion Kamil Stoch of Poland, who finished second in qualifying.

The normal hill final is on Saturday.

Dawid Kubacki of Poland, who also prequalified, finished third ahead of Richard Freitag of Germany.


BOBSLED: Justin Olsen of the United States has resumed light workouts three days after an emergency appendectomy and is expected to compete in the Olympics.

Olsen was hospitalized Monday, underwent laparoscopic surgery and was discharged Wednesday. Olsen has been sleeping well, and U.S. team doctors remain confident he will be ready for the start of competition.

Olsen is scheduled to drive in the two- and four-man events.

“I plan to resume training here shortly,” Olsen said Thursday.

He has some time to continue his recovery.

Bobsledding takes place late in the games.

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