Gay Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy reflects on his journey in emotional Instagram post

Gus Kenworthy

Gus Kenworthy will participate in his first Olympic Games since coming out after winning a Silver medal at Sochi Instagram/Kenworthy

Gus Kenworthy is preparing to compete in his second Winter Olympics, but it will be his first time as an openly gay man, having come out in 2015.

So it is a perfectly fitting time for him to be reflecting on his journey, days before the start of the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

“Just wanted to take a moment to thank you all for your support, love and encouragement,” he wrote on Instagram, alongside three pictures of himself on a recent trip to Switzerland. “It’s crazy to think about what an amazing life I’ve been able to carve out for myself because of skiing.”

“I started skiing with my family and quickly fell in love with the sport,” he continued. “My love was deepened by a tight-knit group of friends that I grew up on the mountain with and it was because of them that I began to push myself and take my skiing more seriously. Now, years later, I’ve traveled all over the world for competitions, shoots and appearances…and I’ve met some of the most wonderful people along the way. I can’t wait to create more memories in Korea and I’m so excited to have y’all with me on my journey – I love you!”

Just wanted to take a moment to thank you all for your support, love and encouragement. It's crazy to think about what an amazing life I've been able to carve out for myself because of skiing. I started skiing with my family and quickly fell in love with the sport. My love was deepened by a tight-knit group of friends that I grew up on the mountain with and it was because of them that I began to push myself and take my skiing more seriously. Now, years later, I've traveled all over the world for competitions, shoots and appearances (including this trip to Switzerland with @samsungmobileusa a few months ago) and I've met some of the most wonderful people along the way. I can't wait to create more memories in Korea and I'm so excited to have y'all with me on my journey – I love you!

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Kenworthy said that coming out, and the support he has received, has transformed his life and his skiing.

“I think that I’ve gotten to live authentically, and share who I really am with my family and friends. It’s made me feel so comfortable,” he told USA Today in a recent interview. “I think that it’s showcased in my skiing. I feel so free and liberated and it’s one last thing I have to think about, about being in the closet and worrying about outing myself. My skiing has benefited from that, from being free.”

Related: Here are the out LGBTQ athletes who will compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics

Kenworthy, who won Silver at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, said he thinks being out this time will make the experience that much sweeter.

“The fact that I am out, I think it’s going to warrant me having a better time in Korea, and really getting to experience it,” he added. “When you’re in the closet, you can’t enjoy anything quite as much. I don’t think I had the Olympics experience I was hoping for, and now that I’m out, I’m going to really take it all in and have such a better time.”

He will compete in the freeski slopestyle event.

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