Gus Kenworthy already has one Olympic medal on his resume. The American skier won silver in slopestyle in Sochi in 2014 and will compete in two events in Pyeongchang including slopestyle and halfpipe. The 26-year-old has also had success at the World Championships, winning silver in slopestyle at the 2017 World Championships in Sierra Nevada, Spain. Kenworthy has competed in three World Championships, according to his U.S. Olympic bio.
Off the slopes, Kenworthy has made headlines since publicly coming out as gay in a 2015 interview with ESPN. Kenworthy joins figure skater Adam Rippon as Team USA’s first ever openly gay male Winter Olympians, according to the Washington Post.
“I’m here at the Olympics,” Kenworthy said to the Washington Post. “Not many people get to say that. And doing so as a gay man makes me feel amazing.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Kenworthy Has Already Experienced Olympic Success
In 2014 Kenworthy was part of an Olympic sweep for Team USA in slopestyle. The Americans captured all three spots on the podium with Kenworthy winning silver. Joss Christensen won gold and Nicholas Goepper took home bronze. Kenworthy’s success has continued long after the Olympics in Sochi. Currently he is one of the most decorated freeskiers on the planet, collecting an unprecedented six consecutive Association of Freeskiing Professionals overall titles.
Kenworthy has also made three appearances at the World Championships, making the podium once. He won silver at the 2017 World Championships in slopestyle. In 2016, he won slopestyle at the Dew Tour in Breckenridge, halfpipe at the Grand Prix in Mammoth, double silver in halfpipe and slopestyle at X Games Aspen and bronze in halfpipe at X Games Oslo, all while battling a heel injury.
His two medals at X Games Aspen marked the first time an athlete has earned an X Games medal in both disciplines since Jon Olsson in 2005. He would go on to win the final event of the 2016 season, the European Freeski Open.
2. He is Currently Dating Actor Matthew Wilkas
During an interview with Out Magazine, Wilkas admitted the relationship began on Instagram, while Kenworthy was still dating his previous boyfriend Robin Macdonald.
“Gus reached out to me on Instagram, and he was very sweet. I think he said he really liked my sense of humor and thought I was funny, and I thought, Who is this guy? I didn’t know what free-skiing was. I’d just come out of a relationship and was going to therapy and wasn’t really in the right place, so when he asked me out, essentially on a date, via Instagram, I couldn’t do it,” Wilkas told Out Magazine back in 2016.
The relationship would not begin until one year after their initial connection on social media, when Wilkas joined Kenworthy for drinks on his birthday. The two ended up bonding over blueberry mojitos, and have been dating ever since. You can read more about Wilkas here.
3. Kenworthy is Very Active on Social Media
View this post on Instagram
The #OpeningCeremony is a wrap and the 2018 Winter Olympic Gaymes are officially under way! I feel incredibly honored to be here in Korea competing for the US and I'm so proud to be representing the LGBTQ community alongside this amazing guy! Eat your heart out, Pence. #TeamUSA #TeamUSGay 🇺🇲🏳️🌈
Kenworthy posted a picture on Instagram the night of the opening ceremonies posing alongside figure skater and openly gay teammate Adam Rippon. The caption says “eat your heart out Pence” in reference to Vice President Mike Pence who was in attendance at the opening ceremonies. Pence is a conservative and longtime opponent of gay rights. Kenworthy has come out publicly against meeting Pence in person.
“I think I’ve kind of made my opinion on the matter pretty clear,” Kenworthy told the Washington Post. “I don’t think that I have any inclination toward a meeting. I think that, in terms of distractions, that would be a much bigger distraction for me, and right now, I’m just focusing on competing.”
Kenworthy also has a controversial tweet pinned to the top of his profile. It’s also a picture of Kenworhty and Rippon with a caption that reads: “We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it.” He has no problem being loud and proud on social media. Kenworthy recently retweeted a segment he did on The Ellen Show where he talked about the nude photoshoot he did on the slopes.
4. He Was Originally Born in Great Britian
Even though he competes for Team USA, Kenworthy was born in Chelmsford, just outside of London. His mother (Pip) is also British but his father (Peter) is American. Gus is the youngest of three children and has two older brothers, Hugh and Nick Kenworthy. All three were born overseas, but didn’t stay long. In 1993, when Gus was just two years old, the family moved back across the pond to Telluride, Colorado.
From a young age, Gus spent a lot of time on the slopes of Colorado, according to Elite Daily. His parents recognized his love of snow sports early on, and put him on the snow almost as soon as he could walk. Gus quickly moved up the freestyle skiing ranks and graduated high school a year late in 2010 after taking one year off to ski. After graduating, he went straight to the competitive circuit. From 2011-13, he won the AFP World Championships all three years. He missed out on a fourth straight win at the World Championships after attending the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, where he won silver in slopestyle. He also won bronze in slopestyle at the 2014 X Games in France later that year.
5. Kenworthy Has Appeared on a Reality TV Show
Kenworthy appeared on the MTV show The Challenge: Champs vs. Pros. The six-week special pitted 10 of America’s top athletes against champions from prior seasons of the show. Former NFL star Victor Cruz hosted the show, which premiered in May of 2017. Each episode featured a wide variety of competitions ranging from agility, ingenuity, brawn, endurance and guts. The final male and female competitors of the season must overcome an ultimate test of strength in one final race for the chance to win $50,000 for their favorite charity.
Gus made it all the way to the final episode before being eliminated. Previous show champions Cara Maria Sorbello and Darrell Taylor were the winners of the challenge. Despite losing out on the ultimate prize, Kenworthy was able to raise $1,000 for The Trevor Project and Happy Hippie Foundation. Some of the other competitors in the show included fellow Olympians Louie Vito and Lolo Jones, former NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman, and WWE wrestler CM Punk.
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