Four years ago at the 2014 Winter Olympics, skier Gus Kenworthy wasn’t out.
“I never got to be proud of what I did in Sochi because I felt so horrible about what I didn’t do,” he later said.
But now he’s out and the world knows his boyfriend, Matt Wilkas. Before heading out to the slopes for the finals, Kenworthy got a quick kiss.
“To be able to do that, to give him a kiss, to have that affection broadcast to the world, is incredible,” Kenworthy later told NBC. “The only way to really change perceptions, to break down barriers, break down homophobia, is through representation. That’s definitely not something I had as a kid. I never saw a gay athlete kissing their boyfriend at the Olympics. I think if I had, it would’ve made it easier for me.”
My Seoul mate! So happy to have my bf, my family and some amazing friends here in Korea to cheer me on! Tomorrow's the big day (tonight for y'all in the US) and win or lose I just wanna thank you all SO much for your support and encouragement. I wouldn't be here without you. pic.twitter.com/XwqWKldwbN
— Gus Kenworthy (@guskenworthy) February 17, 2018
Wilkas noted the importance of the gesture. “It’s good that it’s televised because it normalizes it more. I would imagine it would be a huge moment for a young gay kid to see an awesome athlete so open and proud of himself and not caring what anyone thinks of his sexuality.”
But he added that he didn’t know it would be talked about so much. “It was such a little kiss. If I’d have known it was a big deal, I’d have made out with him.”
Kenworthy’s fans were also there to provide some rainbow support.
— Alyssa Roenigk (@alyroe) February 18, 2018
Kenworthy qualified for the finals in men’s ski slopestyle. He was ranked low in each of the final runs and did not medal.
He said that he had a good experience. “Being out at these games has kind of meant the world to me,” he said.