For possibly the first time, NBC aired a same-sex kiss during the Olympics, as free skier Gus Kenworthy smooched boyfriend Matt Wilkas before competing in the slopestyle event Saturday evening in Pyongyang.
— Outsports (@outsports) February 18, 2018
Network commenters also referred to Wilkas as Kenworthy’s boyfriend.
“It’s something I was too scared to do for myself,” Kenworthy said after his ski. “To be able to do that, to give him a kiss, to have that affection broadcast to the world, is incredible. 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.”
Later, NBC showed his cheering section, including his family waving rainbow flags.
On social media, Kenworthy said he was thrilled to have Wilkas, his family, and friends on hand.
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
He was also pretty stoked to get a shout-out from Britney Spears
— Britney Spears (@britneyspears) February 17, 2018
The 26-year-old won a silver medal in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, but was still closeted, a situation he said made him feel like a “coward.”
Earlier this week, Kenworthy broke his thumb and had a hematoma on his hip, but we’d say Wilkas’s kiss made it all better.