When figure skater Adam Rippon competes in his first Winter Olympics on Monday in South Korea, the smile he flashes may look a little shinier than normal — with good reason.
“I’ve been bleaching my teeth for the past few days and now the wind that I create from just talking makes them hurt,” he tweeted on Sunday. “Like, I think this is a sign that I’m officially ready for my Olympic debut.”
Rippon, 28, is the first openly gay athlete to qualify for Team USA in a Winter Games. He is also something of a noted Twitter aficionado, mixing on his timeline jokes, gratitude, shade and shout-outs to the celebrities for whom he has become a breakout star.
Sharing a recent piece about him in GQ, he wrote of one of the photos accompanying the article: “I’m sitting in a Kohl’s parking lot bush. With the lights from the Taco Bell next door twinkling in my eye, Ryan Pfluger has never made me feel more beautiful.”
In an interview with the magazine, he said, “I’m proud of a lot of things I’ve said on Twitter.”
I’ve been bleaching my teeth for the past few days and now the wind that I create from just talking makes them hurt. Like, I think this is a sign that I’m officially ready for my Olympic debut.
— Adam Rippon (@Adaripp) February 11, 2018
This is a shot from my shoot with @GQMagazine – I’m sitting in a Kohl’s parking lot bush. With the lights from the Taco Bell next door twinkling in my eye, Ryan Pfluger has never made me feel more beautiful. pic.twitter.com/fO2568HJJJ
— Adam Rippon (@Adaripp) February 10, 2018
Rippon, a former national champion, will compete in the men’s free skate during the figure skating team competition Monday. Joining him from Team USA will be Mirai Nagasu and ice dancing siblings Alex and Maia Shibutani.
While he was briefly involved in a dispute with Vice President Mike Pence, Rippon has said in recent days he is focused on competing, and he appears to be soaking up the pageantry and goodwill of the Games.
Walking during the opening ceremony, he shared a photo with freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy, another openly gay athlete. (Kenworthy previously told PEOPLE he and Rippon were “excited to hang out and kiki in Korea.”)
Keep Following PEOPLE’s Complete Coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics
Not long after the Olympics opened, Rippon wrote — on Twitter, of course — that “tonight I walked in the #OpeningCeremony and got to watch my old friend @Yunaaaa light the Olympic flame.”
“Representing the USA is one of the greatest honors of my life,” he continued, “and being able to do it as my authentic self makes it all so much sweeter.”
The 2018 Winter Olympics are airing live on NBC. To learn more, visit teamusa.org.