Gus Kenworthy, a freeskier who won silver at the Sochi Olympics last year, has come out as gay in an interview published in the US media.
An aggressive competitor, he told the magazine that, after coming in second, he decided to go for the No. 1 ranking among all freestyle skiers for the 2014-2015 season, and then come out. Now he’s checked off both those goals.
Gus Kenworthy, who is from Telluride, Colorado, says he knew he was gay since the age of 5 or so. He began skiing competitively in his teen years, and says he first encountered issues on the slopes at the age of 19 when an X Games interviewer asked him whom he was dating. “No, no girlfriend,” he replied anxiously, and then promptly lost.
What followed, Gus Kenworthy says, were years of trying to fit in to the macho world of action sports. “In skiing, there’s such an alpha male thing about pulling the hottest chicks,” Kenworthy tells ESPN. “I know hooking up with hot girls doesn’t sound like the worst thing in the world. But I literally would sleep with a girl and then cry about it afterward. I’m like, ‘What am I doing? I don’t know what I’m doing.'”
During the Olympics, Kenworthy had a boyfriend, though not publicly; the 2014 Games prompted a sustained conversation over the heightened state of homophobia in Putin’s Russia. Today, he says one of his hopes is to have a “TV boyfriend” in the future in the same way that his X Games competitors have TV girlfriends who the cameras cut to before and after a run.