Stars On Mars Winner Adam Rippon Calls Out Lance Armstrong And Backs Trans Athletes In Sports

Adam Rippon on Stars On Mars
(Image credit: Fox)

Warning! The following contains spoilers for the Stars On Mars Season 1 finale "Brightest Star." Read at your own risk!

Stars On Mars brought several celebrities to "Mars" to try and see which could endure the various challenges of life on a space colony, and now we have an answer. While a number of celebrities willingly left the show after a time, some stuck it out, and one Olympian, Adam Rippon, stood above all others as the winner. CinemaBlend had a chance to speak to Rippon following the win and to get his thoughts on the season's most controversial moment involving Lance Armstrong and trans athletes. 

Lance Armstrong had the habitat talking one day when he decided to share his belief that trans athletes should have a division entirely separate from men's and women's divisions. Armstrong's opinion didn't go over well with others in the habitat, including Rippon, a supporter of the trans community. I spoke with Rippon about the details of the incident and why he believed Armstrong was not the person to try and talk about these issues: 

The way that it's on the show, that is what happened, but it was 10 times longer. This was an hour-long event that like happened while we were filming. And so it honestly made me really uncomfortable… It just wasn't the setting to have that sort of conversation. And also, I don't really think Lance Armstrong is somebody who should be really concerned about the fairness of competition. We're trying to navigate that conversation without trying to [address] this big elephant in the room and be like, ‘You're a cheater. Like, what are you concerned about?’

Adam Rippon is referring to the massive doping scandal that overshadowed a bulk of Lance Armstrong's professional cycling career and stripped him of every Tour de France title he ever won. Armstrong later commented on Stars On Mars that he felt isolated after the conversation, and days later, he voluntarily exited the show

Lance Armstrong's comments were broadcast on Stars On Mars, but there's no denying the show wasn't able to appropriately platform a conversation about the issue. Adam Rippon continued to speak about the importance of having trans athletes continue to compete in professional sports, especially for those calling for more research:

Trans athletes in sports is such a popular topic to talk about. And really, there is still so much conversation to be had. And there's more research to be done. But I believe that if we want this research and we want to paint a clear picture of what it means to have trans people in sports, we need to allow them in sports to be able to do this research. There are no studies that can be done if you're constantly and permanently discouraging trans athletes from being involved. There is no conversation to be had. I think that's why it's so important. There is a lot of research out there, which is why there are trans athletes competing. But if we want more research and we want more studies, we need more athletes to be involved.

Adam Rippon believes that more research is needed but that research can't happen when organizations are barring trans people from competing in athletics. It's safe to say the former Olympian is not a fan of the idea of separate divisions or other ideas that Lance Armstrong had about the issue. 

The Stars On Mars winner, who outlasted celebrities like Ronda Rousey, former NBA superstar Paul Pierce, and many others, spoke about the importance of competitive sports in his own life. Adam Rippon shared the ways sports positively impacted him, saying:

I know all of the great things that sports have given me, and I really feel that everybody should be afforded that same opportunity. At the end of the day, the medals and the trophies, they're awesome. But the greatest gifts that I have from sports are the moments where I pushed myself further than I thought I could, the way that I dealt with high-pressure situations, and the people and connections that I made. And that's what sports is all about. Yeah, we all want to win. We all want to do our best. But like that feeling of community, that's what sports is all about. It's this unifying place for so many people, I know that in sports was the first time that I created this group of friends that I'm still friends with to this day.

The first winner of Stars On Mars has spoken, and as Rippon had already competed at the highest level of figure skating and Dancing with the Stars, I'd like to think he's an authority on the importance of sports. Now, if only we could really get him to continue his run of reality show dominance to Survivor or some other show! At this point, I'm just ready to see what his limit is.

Stars On Mars is done for the season, but anyone with a Hulu subscription can watch all of Season 1 right now. It's worth a watch for anyone feeling the strain of the lack of content during the WGA strike and SAG-AFTRA strike, and pretty hilarious thanks to the always-entertaining Marshawn Lynch

Mick Joest
Content Producer

I like good television but also reality television. His day largely consists of balancing his workload between reporting on the latest and greatest news in Star Trek and other sci-fi, as well as 90 Day Fiancé, WWE, Big Brother, and more.