Gus Kenworthy Becomes The Second Openly Gay Man To Compete For U.S. In Winter Games
Having earned a spot Sunday on the U.S. Ski Team, out freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy is the second openly gay man who will compete for the United States at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Kenworthy placed second at the final Olympic qualifier for freeski slopestyle, according to U.S. Ski Team.
28-year-old figure skater Adam Rippon, the first openly gay man to qualify for the Winter Olympics, was selected for the figure skating team on Jan. 7.
Prior to this year, the U.S. had never sent an openly gay man to compete in the Winter Games. The last time an openly gay male athlete competed on Team USA in the Summer Olympics was 14 years ago in Athens, Greece.
Kenworthy came out publicly in 2015, a year and a half after he took silver in slopestyle at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
“I am more open with everyone in my life, and I think it just translates into me being able to ski a little bit more freely and not have so much to focus on and worry about,” Kenworthy told Reuter earlier this month.
Ever since he came out, Kenworthy has become a vocal advocate of LGBTQ visibility in sports — and is widely known as “the gay skier.”
He was recently named a brand ambassador for ‘Head & Shoulders’ and appears in a new commercial, sporting a Team USA uniform and a rainbow flag.
“The Olympics is a cool opportunity to represent our country, which is amazing,” Kenworthy said. “But I have another community I am competing for, and that is the LGBT community.”