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Gus Kenworthy misses winning a medal at 2018 Olympics

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Openly gay freestyle slopestyler battles injuries and struggles in final.

Freestyle Skiing - Winter Olympics Day 9
Gus Kenworthy competes in slopestyle final.
Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

Gus Kenworthy’s 2018 Olympics ended with him struggling with two injuries and missing a medal in the men’s freestyle slopestyle.

Kenworthy, one of 15 out LGBTQ Winter Olympians, finished 12th in the 12-man final won by Norway’s Oystein Braaten. Nick Goepper of the U.S. won the silver and Alex Beaulieu-Marchand of Canada won the bronze.

Kenworthy competed despite a broken thumb and a hematoma (blood clotting) of his hip that he said made it difficult to even walk. He bailed out on the final portion of his third run after it was clear he had no chance to medal. As he reached the finish line and took off his helmet he shrugged his shoulders as if to say it wasn’t his day.

“The hematoma’s much more painful than the thumb,” Kenworthy said after. “I made it to the finals. I thought maybe I’d be able to put another run down. But I don’t know. It’s all good.”

Athletically, the 2018 Games were a comedown from Sochi in 2014 when Kenworthy won silver. But it was a personal triumph. Kenworthy came out as gay in 2015 and became a celebrity as an openly out elite athlete. He was one of the faces of the NBC’s pre-Olympics coverage and racked up many endorsements. His backstory as an out athlete was a big selling point.

Two of the highlights of the coverage of the final were NBC showing Kenworthy and boyfriend Matt Wilkas kissing on live TV as the announcers acknowledged their relationship and of seeing rainbow flags in the stands.

NBC
NBC