This cycle of the winter Olympics has been one for the LGBTQ history books. For the first time Team USA sent openly gay athletes to the competition and one of those athletes became the first openly gay American to medal.
Now, as the Pyeongchang Games come to a close, Adam Rippon and Gus Kenworthy, two of the most buzzworthy people in the entire competition, looked back on what this Olympiad has meant to them, the community, and what it means for the future.
“I came here being authentically myself and sharing my story, and being gay is part of that,” said Adam Rippon to NBC’s Craig Melvin. “But I came here as an American athlete and I came here to help my team get a medal in that team event, and that was what I focused on.” Rippon made headlines ahead of the games for comments made about Mike Pence and a refusal to speak with the Vice President. “I didn’t take the phone call [with Pence] because I needed to focus on the competition,” he said. When asked if he would take the Vice President’s call now, Rippon said “totally.”
Gus Kenworthy, who came out the year after he won a silver medal in Sochi, confessed that he wasn’t ready to compete on an Olympic level as an out athlete. “I was very much in the closet and very much ashamed of who I was, and I actually didn’t get to appreciate the medal that I won because of that,” he said. “I didn’t know if the gay skier would be an image anyone wanted to get behind or support.” It’s nice to see how truly wrong he was. Watch the queer sweethearts of Team USA, here.