Gus Kenworthy won a silver medal in the 2014 Winter Olympics, but he’s taking home the gold in bravery. The freestyle skier came out as gay in a new interview, saying he’s no longer ‘ashamed’ of who he is and he’s ready to be the athlete ‘who comes out and wins ‘sh*t!’
Gus Kenworthy is only 24-years-old and he’s already on top of world. Considered one of the best freeskiers on the planet, Gus has already won medals at both the X-Games and the Winter Olympics. Though he has braved huge slopes and treacherous half-pipes, it wasn’t until recently that he had enough courage to come out and say: “I’m gay”
“I guess I should start by saying ‘I’m gay,'” Gus revealed in an interview with ESPN The Magazine. After hiding that fact for over twenty years, it seemed he was tired of keeping it a secret! Though the silver medal Olympian earned a reputation as being the skier who tries out new tricks before anyone else, he explained why he was afraid of revealing his true self.
“I was insecure and ashamed,” Gus said. “Unless you’re gay, ‘being gay’ has never been looked at as being cool. And I wanted to be cool.” Gus felt pressure to “fit in” with the rest of the skiing world.. Gus did his best to hide being gay, reportedly dating ice-skater Gracie Gold and Miley Cyrus. These fake relationships successfully masked his sexuality, but he said that he would “literally…sleep with a girl and then cry about it afterward.”
Though some athletes don’t consider coming out as gay a big deal — just ask Princeton University’s Mason Darrow — Gus is a bit worried that this revelation might rub some people in his sport the wrong way. “The industry isn’t the most embracing of someone who’s different,” Gus admits. ”I’m nervous about that.”
Gus already has support from fellow freeskier, Justin Dorey, who Gus came out to in January. “Our sport needs [Gus],” Justin said, adding that more people will be supportive of Gus than he thinks. “I’m sure there have been gay action sports athletes in the past,” Justin said. “I’m sure there are now. But Gus being the first to step up, come out and take the heat, it’s badass.”
Now that Gus is out, he’s free to focus all his attention on winning. “I want to be the guy who comes out, wins sh*t and is like, ‘I’m taking names,'” he said. His competition better get ready! He finished the 2014-15 season as the Association of Freeskiing Professionals’ overall champ, making him No. 1 in the world. But, that victory may pale in comparison to the happiness he feels now that he no longer has to keep such an important part of him a secret.
Are you excited to see Gus compete again, HollywoodLifers? Do you think he’ll take home gold in the X-Games in January?
— Jason Brow