Gus Kenworthy: Athletes Have a Responsibility to Come Out

The openly gay Olympian opens up about coming out and his career goals.

It’s been three years since Gus Kenworthy came out of the closet in his ESPN The Magazine cover story. While the Olympian heartthrob braced himself for backlash from his supporters and sponsors, the universe embraced him instead.

Thomas Niedermueller/Life Ball 2018/Getty Images

“I feel like most of my fears were unnecessary, and I think that tends to be the case with people who are in the closet,” Kenworthy told Variety. “I was scared because our whole income was based on sponsorships, and you get sponsors based off your image. I thought there wasn’t a place for a gay guy in my sport. There had never been one before me. I came out, and it was the opposite of what I expected. I was the most endorsed athlete at the Olympics…”

In addition to being surprised by the endorsements, the 27-year-old sportsman said he’s surprised more athletes haven’t come out.

“I really thought I was going to come out in ESPN and then suddenly other people would, too,” he said. “It’s not easy, and it doesn’t seem to be getting easier. But I do think that more athletes need to come out, and athletes need to recognize that they have a responsibility to come out. It’s only going to do good to have more representation and visibility.”

Kenworthy told the outlet he’s not likely to hit the slopes at the 2022 Olympics (“I think I would be too old for it.”), but he does have aspirations for being on the small screen.

“I’ve read and had camera tests for different hosting jobs,” he said. “I’ve done a few random correspondent jobs. I had two auditions that were sent over. Growing up, I wanted to be an actor. That was always my dream as a kid. It wasn’t even to be a skier.”

Lamar Dawson is a pop culture junkie living in Manhattan.
@dirrtykingofpop