American figure skater Adam Rippon was just the person Team USA needed to kick things off during the final night of the team competition at the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Not only did the 28-year-old earn eight points by placing third in the team free skate competition, keeping USA ahead of Italy for the bronze medal, but he performed a seemingly flawless routine that could send chills down a person’s spine.

NBC Olympic announcer and former U.S. figure skater Johnny Weir went as far as to call Rippon’s performance “spellbinding.”

Of course, there was some uproar on Twitter after the judges’ scores put Rippon in third place behind the Russian and Canadian skaters who both fell during their routines.

However, adversity is something the 28-year-old skater is used to. Not only did it take Rippon 18 years to fulfill his dreams of becoming an Olympian—making him the oldest rookie to ever compete in the Olympics—but he did so without a lot of money, NBC reports.

Rippon explained on Twitter:

He wrote:

A little over 5 years ago, I moved to California. I was broke AF, to the point where the little money I did have, I used to join the gym. I would steal all the apples they had out for all the gym members because sometimes I wouldn’t have enough [money] for groceries. I remember telling myself that I would make it through and I would be stronger. I promised I would work my hardest every day and I would always strive to be my best.

After it was reported Rippon turned down a meeting with the Vice President of the United States, Rippon told NBC Sports that he wants his time in Pyeongchang, South Korea, to be about him, his teammates, the competition— and nothing else.

The athlete told NBC’s Mike Tirico:

“You know, I’ve worked my entire life for this moment. But more than that, my mom has always taught me to stand up what I believe in and that has given my skating a greater purpose. So I go out there and I’m not only representing myself, I’m representing my coaches, I’m representing my country and I’m representing my teammates. So I remember that and that’s how I stay focused.”

Rippon added that he’s not allowing the recent news stories about him be a distraction, and he proved that on the ice during his Olympic debut Monday afternoon.

Rippon, is Olympic roommates with teammate Mirai Nagasu, who also made history last night. He will be back on the ice this Friday, February 16.

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Adam Rippon Used to Steal Apples From Gym When He Couldn’t Afford Groceries. He Just Got 3rd at the Olympics

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