U.S. Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon is making a name for himself both on the ice rink and on social media.
In early January, the 28-year-old became the first openly gay American man to qualify for the Winter Olympics and quickly found himself — and his sassy, candid tweets — in the spotlight.
“I’ve always spoken my mind and from the heart,” Rippon told the Associated Press. “I think America’s just catching up. The other day I was joking to one of my friends and he was like, you’re kind of everywhere now. I said, ‘I know, I’m like America’s sweetheart.’”
His tweets have gained the attention of Vice President Mike Pence, Donald Trump Jr. and actress Reese Witherspoon, in addition to nearly a quarter-million followers. He’s posted many jokes and inspirational messages from his account even from PyeongChang, where he helped the U.S. figure skating team earn a bronze medal on Feb. 12.
“It might come off as cocky, but I’ve been through a lot in my life,” Rippon added. “I’ve used my sense of humor as a coping tool. It’s gotten me through a lot of challenging times.”
Click through to see how Rippon communicates with fans — and “haters” — via the social platform.