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Gold Medal Or Not, Adam Rippon Has Won The Olympics

Nothing but praise for America's most mesmerizing figure skater.

Last updated on February 18, 2018, at 8:01 p.m. ET

Posted on February 17, 2018, at 11:02 a.m. ET

Adam Rippon, aka America's Sweetheart, stunned audiences with a dazzling free skate performance at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang on Saturday.

Afp Contributor / AFP / Getty Images

The first openly gay athlete to qualify for the US Winter Olympic squad had already claimed a bronze medal as part of the team event, but Saturday was his big chance to get a solo medal.

Robert Cianflone / Getty Images

His routine was mesmerizing.

Finish with a flourish. It's the @adaripp way. #WinterOlympics https://t.co/fmMl0C4Amf

But when all was said and done, Rippon ended up finishing in 10th place overall. Yet he won something that's arguably worth more than any gold medal: the love and adoration of fans, old and new.

Harry How / Getty Images

Prior to the last night's free skate, Rippon had received well-wishes from THE Britney Spears: "Keep making us all smile at the Winter Olympics and good luck today."

Hey @Adaripp.... I just wanted let you know that I am a fan, I am not in denial, and that you are THE MOST FUN!! Ke… https://t.co/0JrATIxdrO

And that wasn't the only big-time celeb who gushed over Rippon. Sarah Paulson, of American Horror Story fame, said watching the Olympian perform on Saturday made her shed some tears. "Authenticity meeting athleticism and artistry — sublime."

Boy does watching Adam Rippon make me cry- authenticity meeting athleticism and artistry- SUBLIME

"You're #1 in our hearts, Adam," tweeted snowboarder and fellow gay US Olympian Gus Kenworthy. "So proud of you and inspired by you."

I don't fully understand figure skating judging so I can't really speculate on the scoring but @Adaripp's performan… https://t.co/S4Yp285PEx

"I will watch Dancing With the Stars because of him," wrote writer Louis Virtel, seemingly speculating that Rippon would somehow wind up on the next season of the hit ABC show.

I'm crying for two reasons: 1) Adam Rippon was amazing. 2) I will watch Dancing With The Stars because of him.

Rippon, a Pennsylvania native, also got a shout-out from Sen. Bob Casey. "Your infectious spirit and positive attitude have been an inspiration," he said on Twitter.

.@Adaripp your infectious spirit and positive attitude have been an inspiration- Pennsylvania is proud of you! #Olympics

And Leslie Jones, SNL cast member and prolific Olympic commentator, gave him an enthusiastic "Good job!!"

Rippon's fellow US ice skaters, Nathan Chen and Vincent Zhou, both looked on in support of their teammate as he performed.

two chinese-american sons supporting their gay dad adam rippon

Chen wowed people during his own performance, completing a record number of quads.

"Nathan Chen is still the quad king!" This is history. @nathanwchen with SIX quads in his men's free skate progra… https://t.co/NOcBiNBkeQ

Chen ultimately finished fifth, and Zhou sixth.

But it was Rippon's performance that was especially moving for the LGBT community. There were even pride flags on display in the Olympic arena.

Pride flags - one held by @guskenworthy - were unfurled as an emotional Adam Rippon salutes the crowd. Beautiful sk… https://t.co/g1rG9eUsV4

People were pretty proud of him, especially considering the figure skater suffered a broken foot last year.

I am so proud. @Adaripp was injured in a boot this time last year. He came out tonight and showed everyone hard wor… https://t.co/ScaSyTliQE

In short, Rippon may not have placed last night, but he's stll the true winner of the Olympics, at least in our hearts.

Adam Rippon will not medal, but it's safe to say he's the winner of the Olympics

On Sunday, NBC announced that Rippon would stay on as a correspondent for the rest of the games. But the figure skater later appeared on the network to say he was "flattered" but had declined the offer in order to remain on the US Olympic team.

"You know I’m so flattered that NBC wanted me to be a correspondent, but I’d have to leave the Olympic team and leave the village," Rippon said Sunday. "It’s so important for me. I worked so hard to be on this Olympic team and my teammates and friends were there for me for my events and that meant so much for me that I feel I need to be there for them for their events as well."

Either way, congrats!!

Dean Mouhtaropoulos / Getty Images

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