US Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon is ready to compete for the gold

Rippon, who helped the U.S. earn a bronze medal in the figure skating team competition, will next compete in individual figure skating.
5:44 | 02/13/18

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Transcript for US Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon is ready to compete for the gold
Reporter: It was a performance as smooth as the ice he skated on. So solid. Reporter: Adam Rippon wearing his emotions on that sequined sleeve, dazzling the crowd. The American cleanly landing two triple axels, helping to propel team usa to the bronze medal, and instantly launching Rippon himself into that prized olympic darling status. And even that bronze wasn't without controversy. Rippon's fans quick to point out that the first and second place skaters both fell. But the judges awarded them more points because their routines had a higher level of difficulty. But so many claiming that Rippon was ripped off and turning to social media, making it the world's top trending topic overnight. One person tweeting, "Do the judges award extra points for fall technical difficulty notwithstanding, he addressed the backlash with his trademark sass in a conversation with our Amy robach. I think we need to get those people who think that I was ripped off on a judging panel immediately. You -- Maybe before the individual competition. Reporter: And Rippon wasn't the only hero for team usa. His beloved teammate, mirai nagasu, made history when she became the first American woman to land a triple Axel at the olympics. Oh! Wow. Reporter: It took her years to perfect that move. The result evident in that triumphant smile. Do you try to convey the feeling of a triple Axel, it is a fast jump. The faster you spin the harder it is to basically breathe because there's so much force. Reporter: Mirai ultimately placing second in her team event. But what is no doubt gold is the relationship between mirai and Adam and the journey that led them to pyeongchang. At just 16 she was selected for the Vancouver olympics, narrowly missing the podium. Rippon was a relative late bloomer. He says he was awkward and unathletic. I fell in love with skating because of the performance aspect. You know, growing up, I sucked at every sport that I tried. But I loved being active. I loved playing sports. And finally, when I found skating, it was sort of like a combination of something where I felt I could perform but I was also getting that like athletic satisfaction. Reporter: Adam working his way through the competition circuit became a second alternate for the 2010 olympics. But Adam and mirai's friendship was forged by bitter heartbreak they shared when both athletes were passed over for Sochi in 2014. Rippon remembers he and mirai both eating burgers together and crying. But they kept going. Rippon saying there was a time he subsisted on three apples from his gym, a low point in his life. But now he says he has found his authentic self. You don't get to have those highs if you don't push yourself, you know, to be vulnerable and to have setbacks in training because that's kind of what makes everything all worth it. Reporter: And he continued to develop what he would become known for, his artistry during performances. ??? Like diamonds in the sky ??? here he is singing "Diamonds" on the ice at the grand prix final in Japan last year. And now at 28 Rippon is the oldest American rookie singles skater since 1936. And he's not just representing himself. It's almost shocking that it took to 2018 for you to be the first openly gay male for the winter olympics. You know, I think in 2018 there's still sort of a taboo that being gay means you are weaker or being gay doesn't mean that you'll fight or that you're strong. And that is absolutely not the case. Reporter: In his corner here in pyeongchang so many including his mom, Kelly Rippon, who is a single mother of six. What are you proud of most? One, I'm proud that he kept with it and persevered over the last four years. Oh. That's them? Yes. You face time? It is. Reporter: Even on face time the olympic village roommates are seemingly inseparable. You guys were great. Reporter: But Rippon also has developed a special bond with low olympian skier Gus Kenworthy. He is the second openly gay American man to compete in these games, who tweeted out support for his teammate, sharing this moment and writing, "Very proud of this guy." The two walking together into the olympic stadium for the opening ceremony. And Rippon using his platform to take that political stand. Reportedly refusing to meet with vice president Mike pence because of his stance on gay rights. I personally don't have anything to say to Mike pence. Right now I have a voice and I think it's really important for me to use it. Reporter: But Adam isn't hanging up his skates yet here in South Korea. Both he and mirai will compete in the individual events later in the games. How are you going to celebrate? I'm going to go to target. And I'm going to get a bottle of sauvignon blanc oyster boy with a twist top. I like it. That sounds like a plan. Immediately. Reporter: But it's clear that no matter how they do some things aren't going to change. No more burgers eaten on the roof, right? Actually, we might have a celebration. Reporter: For "Nightline" I'm

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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