“I just hope that my story can be a beacon of light”
Gus Kenworhty is an Olympic skier.
Gus has competed, and won, in events like the AFP World Championships. In addition, he has placed for bronze in the X Games and silver at the Olympics in Sochi during 2014.
And on top of all those achievements and firsts, Gus Kentworthy is also the first “freestyle medalist… action-sports star to come out,” as noted by Rolling Stone.
Gus came out during the 2014 Winter Olympics through an interview with ESPN The Magazine.
But as amazing as all that is, none of us realized the great pain and effort Gus had to go through in order to come out, and the relief that he feels afterwards.
Gus Kenworthy is currently competing on MTV’s The Challenge: Champs vs. Pros. The series is all about putting the winners of the original show The Challenge against pro athletes.
In an episode of the show, Gus opened up and talked about the fears he had when he came out and the regret he has now for waiting so late to do it.
“I just always thought that my life as a skier and my life as a gay man couldn’t co-exist,” he said. “And after a while I just realized that the pain of holding on to this lie and the pain I was having from being in the closet was actually greater than the fear of just saying fuck it and letting go and so I was just like, screw it, I’m gonna come out.”
“I never got to be proud of what I did in Sochi because I felt so horrible about what I didn’t do. 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.”
Adding to that, he worried that by coming out, he would only fuel the flames of stereotypes about skiing.
“I hear the snowboarders call us ‘skier fags.’ And it’s frustrating because I’m literally going to live up to that stereotype.”
But luckily, Gus is now on the other side and it’s much greener from there. Following coming out, Gus had one of the best seasons of his career and he was happy to find that his sponsors and others close to him were fully supportive.
Now, Gus Kenworthy is not only an out athlete, but he’s also one of the best skiers in the world.
He is representing as a pro, gay athlete and as a skier in general, and hopefully he’ll leave a pathway for people in both communities to be inspired and eventually follow.
“I just hope that my story can be a beacon of light for other people that are in the closet and just let people know that the best way you can live is authentically and genuinely and everyone deserves to be happy.”