Gus Kenworthy, one of the most visible and well-known out gay athletes in the world, will compete at the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing after all.
Kenworthy will represent Team Great Britain in the freeski halfpipe, a discipline of freestyle skiing. He is one of 21 ski and snowboard athletes on Team GB.
Though Beijing will mark Kenworthy’s third Olympic appearance, it will be his first time competing for Great Britain. He’s eligible to represent Britain, because his mother is English, and he was born in England. The X Games legend had been part of Team USA until 2019.
He will compete at this week’s Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo. Kenworthy, 30, says the X Games and Beijing Olympics will be the last two events of his athletic career.
There was some question surrounding whether Kenworthy would be able to ski in Beijing. His training had been interrupted by head issues that forced him to pull out of competition late last year. He said his injuries were the lingering effects of a Covid infection he experienced.
“With the Olympics less than two months away I’m incredibly frustrated but trying to stay positive and hopeful that this will pass,” Kenworthy wrote on Instagram. “Not sure what else I can do but wait.”
The waiting paid off. Kenworthy rose to prominence for his performance at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, where he won a silver medal. He was one of four publicly out gay men, and 15 out athletes total, to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games — forming a dynamic all-American duo with fellow heartthrob Adam Rippon.
It will be great to have Kenworthy in Beijing, even if he’s no longer with Team USA.