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Adam Rippon is Winning Everything at the Olympics Except Gold

Yuzuru Hanyu, the skater with a name like a sword maker and the guts and athleticism of a ninja might have run away with the competition last night with his record-setting 111 short program score. But Adam Rippon stole the show.

Can there be any doubt at this point that Adam is THE breakout star of the PyeongChang Games thus far? He has come to South Korea to chew bubble gum and kick ass and he is all out of bubble gum. His interviews have been gold. He’s a quote machine. Quirky and confident. Self-aware and self-promoting. Sassy. Playing to the crowd. Finger wagging the judges. The camera loves him. And he and Andrea Joyce are becoming to Millennials what Ali and Howard Cosell were to Boomers: Appointment television. And even Ali and Cosell never worked references to Reese Witherspoon, Elmo, Meryl Streep and statement necklaces into their interviews.

Of course, Rippon is 28. So he and “Andy,” as he sometimes calls her, have been a comedy duo for quite some time:

And his “witch” comment is part of his legend by now:

And no athlete in the Games can play the social media game like Rippon does:

He’s simply the most compelling, interesting character of the Winter Olympics to this point, and the men haven’t even reached the Free Skate yet. The only downside for me is my worry that Adam Rippon is going to get so big he’ll become a media sensation and step on the toes of my spirit animal Johnny Weir. But that’s my own cross to bear. Johnny not only doesn’t seem to be worried, he’s enjoying the show as much as any of us and taking the high road all the way.

Vibrant. Powerful. Hero. And breakout star of PyeongChang. I don’t wear any jewelry but a wedding ring, but Rippon has me wanting a statement necklace. NBC, give us more Adam and Andrea. Times a thousand.

@jerrythornton1