Five-Time Freeski Champ, Sochi Olympic Silver Medalist Gus Kenworthy Comes Out As Gay

Olympic silver medalist freeskier Gus Kenworthy has come out of the closet on social media in an indepth interview with ESPN.

Kenworthy won the AFP World Championships overall titles in 2011, 2012, and 2013, won silver at the Olympics in Sochi, Russia and won a bronze medal at the X Games in Tignes, France in the slopestyle event.

ESPN adds:

Gus Kenworthy started coming out to his family and closest friends nearly two years ago. His mom said she knew. His brother said he was proud. His best friend 
voiced unrelenting support. And if Gus Kenworthy were an average 24-year-old, the announcement — the story — might have ended there. But Gus Kenworthy is not an average 24-year-old. He is the top freeskier on the planet, an Olympic medalist, a face of the X Games. He is an elite athlete competing in the world of action sports, where sponsors — and income — are inextricably linked to image. In other words, he is an athlete with a lot to lose. But Gus Kenworthy is ready to tell that world, his sport, his truth. And so, as we sit down together in Los Angeles in September, he begins the only way he knows how: “I guess I should start by saying, ‘I’m gay.’”

Late this morning, Kenworthy tweeted:

Kenworthy also shared the announcement on Facebook, writing:

I am gay.

Wow, it feels good to write those words. For most of my life, I’ve been afraid to embrace that truth about myself. Recently though, I’ve gotten to the point where the pain of holding onto the lie is greater than the fear of letting go, and I’m very proud to finally be letting my guard down.

My sexuality has been something I’ve struggled to come to terms with. I’ve known I was gay since I was a kid but growing up in a town of 2,000 people, a class of 48 kids and then turning pro as an athlete when I was 16, it just wasn’t something I wanted to accept. I pushed my feelings away in the hopes that it was a passing phase but the thought of being found out kept me up at night. I constantly felt anxious, depressed and even suicidal.

Looking back, it’s crazy to see how far I’ve come. For so much of my life I’ve dreaded the day that people would find out I was gay. Now, I couldn’t be more excited to tell you all the truth. Maybe you’ve suspected that truth about me all along, or maybe it comes as a complete shock to you. Either way, it’s important for me to be open and honest with you all. Y’all have supported me through a lot of my highs and lows and I hope you’ll stay by my side as I make this transformation into the genuine me – the me that I’ve always really been.

I am so thankful to ESPN for giving me this opportunity and to Alyssa Roenigk for telling my story to the world. I think about the pain I put myself through by closeting myself for so much of my life and it breaks my heart. If only I knew then what I know now: that the people who love you, who really care about you, will be by your side no matter what; and, that those who aren’t accepting of you are not the people you want or need in your life anyway.

Part of the reason that I had such a difficult time as a kid was that I didn’t know anyone in my position and didn’t have someone to look up to, who’s footsteps I could follow in. I hope to be that person for a younger generation, to model honesty and transparency and to show people that there’s nothing cooler than being yourself and embracing the things that make you unique.

The U.S. Olympic team congratulated Kenworthy on Twitter:

Congrats Gus!

On Wednesday's we wear pink! #breastcancerawarnessmonth #fuckcancer #realmenwearpink #donate (Link in bio). ?????

A photo posted by gus kenworthy (@guskenworthy) on

h/t: towleroad