Andrew Blaser is representing the United States in skeleton again this season, and a year after his Olympics debut he’s again finding his passion for the sport.

While the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing were an incredible experience for Blaser, it also represented a bit of a disappointment with COVID protocols, as well as being unable to march in the Opening Ceremony due to the competition location for skeleton.

“When you’re not really in a medal hunt and you’re there for the experience, and the experience isn’t what you might expect, it was pretty heavy for me,” Blaser said.

Being out as a gay man in China also gave him concern heading to the Games, given the less-than-equal treatment reported by news media (though to be clear, homosexuality itself is legal in China). Competing in Russia, Blaser said, also gives him pause.

This World Cup tour didn’t bring him to either country. And he admits that at the beginning of the season, he had a tough time giving his all to the effort as the Olympic hangover continued.

Yet in January, he found his muse.

“There was a moment in Altenberg (Germany) when a switch flipped in my head and I didn’t have to be there, I wanted to be there,” he said.

This year Blaser finished 25th at the World Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland, while also recording top-20 finishes.

Since coming out publicly with an Outsports article in 2021, Blaser hasn’t experienced any different reactions from his teammates or competitors. Part of that is having been pretty out to them well before sharing his story publicly.

“I’ve been so open with it through my time sliding that everyone we’re with week in and week out have been very aware of it.”

One of the benefits of being as out and proud as he has been is the effect on other people he’s had.

“I had someone who sat down with me, and she shared parts of her story and what had happened. Through Kendall Wesenberg and me being open, she said it was reassuring to see it was OK to be authentic to yourself.”

You can follow Andrew Blaser on Instagram.