Olympic Freeskier, Gus Kenworthy, announced on Thursday that he is gay.
Kenworthy became the first action sports athlete to openly come out as gay, first telling his story to ESPN The Magazine.
“I feel just amazing to have it out there,” Kenworthy said in a phone interview. “It feels like a huge weight’s been taken off of my shoulders. I’ve been completely floored by the response that I’ve gotten, everyone’s been so supportive and so kind with what they’ve said.”
After Kenworthy revealed the news, he was met with support. Tweets from Chloe Moretz, Miley Cyrus, Jason Collins and so many others poured in, according to USA Today.
Athletes applauded Kenworthy’s decision and gave much support.
Sage Kotsenburg, the snowboarding slopestyle Olympic champion in Sochi, tweeted:
“Gus you are the man! So proud of you for this I know it couldn’t have been easy but we’re all supporting you #GoGus”
Joss Christensen, the Olympic gold medalist who along with Kenworthy and Nick Goepper led the USA to a sweep in the event’s debut stated:
“This is huge and I’m so happy for Gus.”
“It’s almost kind of putting it in everybody else’s face and saying, ‘Hey, I don’t care what you think. This is me, and I love who I am.’”
Many athletes culturally uses the word “gay” and derogatory terms as a synonym for stupid or uncool.
Michael Spencer, Kenworthy’s agent, doesn’t believe that’s out of maliciousness but acknowledges that hearing that has had an impact on Kenworthy.
Kenworthy feels as though the goal is more than just changing the language that is used but setting an example.
The media tour following his Olympic silver medal and the U.S. sweep was a turning point. For the first time, he was being asked about his private dating life, and he felt insincere by denying the truth of who he truly is.
“More so than that change or that shift, I guess the biggest thing that I wanted was to try to just show people that this is not something that should be hidden,” said Kenworthy. “I had such a hard time as a kid and I think if there had been someone like me when I was a kid to look up to, someone who had come out in this sport, it would have saved me a lot of heartache and I would have come to terms at a much younger age.”