Olympic freeskier Gus Kenworthy comes out, ski community shows support


A photo posted by gus kenworthy (@guskenworthy) on

Olympic freestyle skiing silver medalist Gus Kenworthy, who stole the nation’s heart with his heroics on the snow and animal activism during the 2014 Sochi Olympics, has come out as being gay.

The 24-year-old Colorado-native made the announcement Thursday via the cover story of the most recent edition of ESPN the Magazine and via his social media channels:

“I never got to be proud of what I did 
in Sochi because I felt so horrible about what I didn’t do,” Kenworthy told ESPN’s Alyssa Reonigk. “I didn’t want to come out as the silver medalist from Sochi. I wanted to come out as the best freeskier in the world.”

Kenworthy finished his 2014-2015 ski season as the Association of Freeskiing Professionals champion for the fifth year in a row, and, by most accounts, is the most balanced freeskier in the world. Despite his massive successes, he said he felt incredibly insecure because of his sexual orientation.

”I was insecure and ashamed,” he told ESPN the Magazine. “Unless you’re gay, being gay has never been looked at as being cool. And I wanted to be cool.”

Gus Kenworthy comes out as gay

Gus Kenworthy gained widespread media attention for his efforts to rescue stray puppies during his stay in Sochi. Photo: TheSochiPups

Kenworthy noted that he knew he was gay as early as 5-years-old, and that despite being linked romantically to everyone from Miley Cyrus to ice skater Gracie Gold, the machismo culture sometimes fostered in skiing wore on him. As a good-looking guy with massive skiing success, he felt pressured to be something he wasn’t.

RELATED: Get to know Olympian Gus Kenworthy

"In skiing, there's such an alpha male thing about pulling the hottest chicks," Kenworthy told 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.'”

Ultimately though, his announcement was met with support from the skiing and LGBT communities:

And the overwhelming response wasn’t lost on Kenworthy.

“It’s been a very emotional morning for me. Seeing my cover for the first time, reading the beautiful words that Alyssa Roenigk wrote about me and watching my piece on Sports Center has me completely choked up,” he wrote on Facebook. “I’m blown away by the amount of support I’ve gotten and I just want to say thank you, again, to you all! Your positive words mean the world to me.”

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