Clinton 'excited' that Adam Rippon, Gus Kenworthy are 1st openly gay US Winter Olympians

PHOTO: Gus Kenworthy reacts from the podium after finishing in second place in the final round of the Mens Freeski Slopestyle (AFP Platinum) during the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix on on January 21, 2018 in Mammoth, California. PlaySean M. Haffey/Getty Images
WATCH Clinton 'excited' that Rippon, Kenworthy are 1st openly gay US Winter Olympians

Hillary Clinton is going all "fangirl" over the Winter Olympics.

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"I'm going to watch as much as I can see," the former Secretary of State told attendees at the Makers conference in Los Angeles, via satellite from New York City. "I love the Winter Olympics. I love the athleticism and the stories of our athletes."

PHOTO: Hilary Clinton speaks live from New York with Founder and Executive Producer, MAKERS, Dyllan McGee during The 2018 MAKERS Conference at NeueHouse Hollywood on February 7, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for MAKERS
Hilary Clinton speaks live from New York with Founder and Executive Producer, MAKERS, Dyllan McGee during The 2018 MAKERS Conference at NeueHouse Hollywood on February 7, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

And it's the stories of two athletes, in particular, that has the former Democratic presidential candidate psyched for the games, which officially kick off Friday in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

"I'm excited that Adam Rippon and Gus Kenworthy will be the first openly gay Olympians for the American team," Clinton, a frequent guest and participant at LGBT-related events, said to a roar of applause.

Rippon, 28, is a U.S. Olympic figure skater, and Kenworthy, 26, is a U.S. skier. Although there have been other LGBT athletes on the U.S. Olympic team in the past -- figure skater Johnny Weir, for example -- none were publicly out during the games; they came out afterwards. As for the summer Olympics, the last openly gay athletes were equestrians Robert Dover and Guenter Seidel, who competed in 2004.

PHOTO: Adam Rippon of United States competes in the Mens Singles Free Skating during day two of the ISU Junior & Senior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final at Nippon Gaishi Arena on December 8, 2017 in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan.The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images
Adam Rippon of United States competes in the Men's Singles Free Skating during day two of the ISU Junior & Senior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final at Nippon Gaishi Arena on December 8, 2017 in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan.

PHOTO: U.S. freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy poses for a portrait at the Team USA Winter Olympics media summit Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Park City, Utah. AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
U.S. freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy poses for a portrait at the Team USA Winter Olympics media summit Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Park City, Utah.

"So I'm going to be there cheering them on, whether it's skating or skiing or anything else," Clinton said. "Although I have to tell you, I shut my eyes at the luge or the skeleton. That's too scary. But I will open them to see who's won."

And in that Clinton-esque tone she uses to energize a crowd, she concluded, "So let's cheer our Olympians on and let's take the Olympic spirit of trying to bring people together and fight for what's right."

PHOTO: Gus Kenworthy competes in the final round of the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup 2017 Mens Ski Halfpipe during The Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain on December 17, 2016 in Copper Mountain, Colorado. Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
Gus Kenworthy competes in the final round of the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup 2017 Men's Ski Halfpipe during The Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain on December 17, 2016 in Copper Mountain, Colorado.

Rippon and Kenworthy have both had harsh words for Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading the U.S. Olympic delegation. Their criticism of the former Indiana governor stems from his perceived lack of support of LGBT rights and the widespread notion that he once supported so-called gay conversion therapy, which has been slammed as nonsense by the medical field.

In a 2000 statement on his congressional campaign website, Pence said, "Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior." During the 2016 election campaign, however, Pence's spokesman said he does not support the concept.

PHOTO: Adam Rippon of The United States trains during Figure Skating practice ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Ice Arena on February 7, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. Getty Images
Adam Rippon of The United States trains during Figure Skating practice ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Ice Arena on February 7, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.

During an interview with USA Today last month, Rippon said of Pence's involvement with the Olympics, "You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy?” Rippon said. "I’m not buying it."

He further told USA Today, "If it were before my event, I would absolutely not go out of my way to meet somebody who I felt has gone out of their way to not only show that they aren’t a friend of a gay person but that they think that they’re sick. I wouldn’t go out of my way to meet somebody like that."

On Friday morning though, as press reports circulated that there was tension between Pence and Rippon, the vice president took to Twitter, and wrote, "@Adaripp 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!"

And Kenworthy echoed Rippon's disdain for Pence during an appearance on "Ellen" Monday. "To have someone leading the delegation that's directly attacked the LGBT community ... it just seems like a bad fit," he told Ellen DeGeneres. "I feel like the Olympics is all about inclusion and people coming together, and it seems like it's not really doing that."

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