A year after medaling at the Sochi Olympics in 2014, American freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy came out to the world on the cover of ESPN Magazine. Since then, the 26 year old has stayed on top of his game and become a vocal advocate for the LGBTQ community.
“I feel like I’m in a very different place going into the next Games,” said Kenworthy in a recent video interview for the Washington Post. “For me, being in the closet, I guess I just didn’t picture another life for myself. After skiing was done I’d be able to have a boyfriend, have a husband.”
But in a world with other brave athletes like Michael Sam and Jason Collins paving the way, Kenworthy decided he would make his announcement when his visibility was peaking. “The pain of lying and holding onto it and always feeling like I was avoiding answers and not getting to every really be myself was so painful,” he said. “When I made that decision I wanted to do it in a specific way.”
Now, looking ahead to Pyeongchang, Kenworthy is ready to be a face for gay athletes. “I don’t want to silence myself. I want to be outspoken,” he said. “If me doing that did lose me a sponsor, lose me a follower, I don’t care. Because I think it’s important for you to stand up to what you believe in.”
Don’t expect Kenworthy to be a part of any Olympic delegation to the White House, though. “I have no intention to visit the White House if I make the team,” he said. “Especially in an administration that is doing things that are directly impacting my community in a really negative way. I have no desire to go there and shake a hand and pretend like I’m OK with everything that’s happening.” Watch, below.