Olympic Silver Medalist Gus Kenworthy Comes Out As Gay
Kenworthy said he made the decision to come out publicly after telling his family and closest friends he was gay almost two years ago, but it wasn't an easy choice to make. Because of the culture surrounding pro-athleticism, Kenworthy worried about acceptance from the community.
The Olympic freeskier said, "They say it’s a community of individuals and everyone is doing their own thing and it’s not a team sport, so you get to be yourself. But you don’t really. Everyone wears a Red Bull or Monster or Rockstar cap, a T-shirt and jeans and skate shoes. Everyone drives the same type of car and listens to the same kind of music. The industry isn’t the most embracing of someone who’s different. I’m nervous about that.”
In the interview, Kenworthy also spoke candidly about the "alpha male" culture involved in the world of professional skiing, saying, "There’s such an alpha male thing about pulling the hottest chicks. 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.’”
Since tweeting out the cover earlier today (October 22), Kenworthy's news has been met with support from other athletes and celebrities. Miley Cyrus (who Kenworthy once named as his celebrity crush when pressed during an interview) posted the magazine cover on Instagram, writing, "Never have I ever been prouder to call @guskenworthy my friend!...He is showing all of us what it means to be courageous and PROUD of who we are! You have won so much more than any medal....You have won FREEDOM! I can't wait to see what you and I can do with @happyhippiefdn together! You are making it possible to shine light on the LGBTQ community in front of a whole new world! So much respect for you. I looooove looooove looooove you! Ughhhhhhhhh heart is fluttering, feels like a million little cocoons just busted open and I am filled up with butterflies."
In addition to his silver medal win at the Sochi Olympics and being widely heralded as one of the top freestyle skiers in the world, Kenworthy also made headlines last year after an image of him with five stray dogs he intended on bringing back to the U.S. to save went viral.
While media outlets grabbed hold of the story, Kenworthy later revealed that his boyfriend at the time was truly responsible for saving the dogs (two of which have since died as a result of health complications). He said (via Alternative Press), "He got zero credit and I was getting asked about it on every show and in every interview."
You can check out Kenworthy's full ESPN cover story -- which the magazine says is the first in an "ongoing series exploring what it means to be an openly gay athlete in the post-acceptance world" -- over on their official website.
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