Gus Kenworthy abandons US team and will ski for Britain at next Olympics
American freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy has given up being on the US Winter Olympics team and will ski for Britain at the next games.
Kenworthy has become internationally famous as an LGBT+ sporting hero after he came out as gay in 2015.
Kenworthy grew up in Telluride, a ski and golf resort town in Colorado US. However, he was born in Essex, southern England. Moreover, he has an English mother, Heather Tyler, as well as an American father, Peter Kenworthy.
While he is just 28, the Winter Olympics in Beijing in 2022 are likely to be his last games.
Kenworthy switches to team GB
Kenworthy, a keen Instagrammer, announced his reasons for the team switch on the social platform.
He said: ‘I am very excited to announce that I will be competing for Team GB on the road to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
‘Although I was raised in the US I was born in the UK and my mum is British through-and-through.
‘She has been my #1 fan for my entire life and has proudly stood at the bottom of the mountain waving the stars and stripes in support of me for two Olympic cycles.
‘Now, in what is sure to be my last Olympic appearance, I’d like to return the honor by proudly holding up the British flag for her.’
Some have suggested that Kenworthy was also inspired to make the switch because the British Winter Olympics team is easier to get into.
Previously Britain’s most famous winter games competitor has been Eddie the Eagle Edwards. He famously came last in ski jump competitions in 1988.
Kenworthy won the silver medal for slopestyle skiing at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The games were, of course, controversial due to Russia’s anti-LGBT+ policies, in particular the ‘gay propaganda’ law.
Kenworthy again represented the US in slopestyle at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. At that games, he made it to the final but didn’t win a medal.
However he has won AFP World Championships overall titles in 2011, 2012, and 2013.
Since the 2018 games, Kenworthy has diversified his career. This year he guest starred in a Snatch Game episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race and joined the cast of American Horror Story.
Kenworthy comes out
Kenworthy came out as gay in an ESPN interview in 2015.
He subsequently told British LGBT+ magazine Attitude: ‘I wanted to do it in my words and once and for all – and hopefully help kids that are in the same position I was.’
British gay Olympic diver Tom Daley has welcomed Kenworthy to Team GB with a wry comment on his Instagram post.
‘Oh. So we are team mates now,’ Daley said.
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Author: Tris Reid-Smith