Olympic Skier Gus Kenworthy Talks Coming Out & 'Competing Authentically' at the Winter Games
Olympic freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy isn't coming home with a medal, but he's had plenty of public support as one of the first openly gay American men to compete in the Winter Games. The athlete can even count pop icon Britney Spears as a fan: "Hey @guskenworthy, gimme, gimme more on the slopes today!! #ItsGusBitch," she tweeted Sunday.
“If you look at me, I’m bummed but I’m not sulking, I’m not crying,” Kenworthy told The New York Times after a bum hip and broken thumb conspired to land him in 12th place in the men's ski slopestyle final. “Being out at these Games has kind of meant the world to me, just getting to really be myself and be authentic. And I think landing a run in the final and getting on the podium obviously would have been icing on the cake, but even though it didn’t happen for me I still had a wonderful Olympic experience.”
The skier had a particularly meaningful moment when he was unexpectedly captured on camera kissing his boyfriend. "My childhood self would never have dreamed of seeing a gay kiss on TV at the Olympics but for the first time ever a kid watching at home CAN! Love is love is love," he tweeted.
Didn't realize this moment was being filmed yesterday but I'm so happy that it was. My childhood self would never have dreamed of seeing a gay kiss on TV at the Olympics but for the first time ever a kid watching at home CAN! Love is love is love. pic.twitter.com/8t0zHjgDg8— Gus Kenworthy (@guskenworthy) February 19, 2018
Kenworthy "came out in a very public way," in an interview for ESPN magazine in 2015. In a new video profile, seen below, he explains, "I didn't come out quietly. I wanted to make a big impact in the hopes that it would help younger kids, anyone that was struggling to kind of accept themselves ... to be able to see a reflection of themselves in someone else.
"Competing authentically and just getting to be who I am at this game, to share myself honestly with the world, I think that that's incredible," Kenworthy says.
Watch the clip below to hear more about how he inspired others on his way to locking his place on Team USA.