One of the world’s premier Alpine skiers is speaking publicly about his sexual orientation for the first time.
Hig Roberts has come out as gay in an exclusive interview with The New York Times. A veteran skier, Roberts has made more than 30 World Cup starts, competed for the U.S. Ski team, and taken home two national titles. He decided to stop skiing professionally in 2019. But despite his illustrious career, Roberts always felt uneasy: Until now, the 29-year-old kept his sexual orientation under wraps.
“Not being able to be who I am and not be able to be openly gay as a professional athlete was truly hindering my performance,” Roberts told The Times.
He added that the culture of the Alpine ski community, which is very insular and favors hyper-masculinity, made coming out feel particularly daunting.
“I just woke up one morning and I said, ‘Enough is enough,'” Roberts continued. “I love this sport more than anything — I’m so lucky and privileged to be doing this — but I can’t go on another day not trying to achieve the person that I am meant to be. Which I think for each and every one of us, one of those main goals needs to be happiness and authenticity.”
Roberts’ vulnerability is historic for the Alpine skiing community. To date, he is the first Alpine skier of his caliber — current or former — to come out publicly.
He follows in the footsteps of out sports pros like Adam Rippon, a figure skater, and Gus Kenworthy, also a skier, both of whom made major gains for LGBTQ pro athletes at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. (Roberts fell short of qualifying for the American team at the Olympics that year.)
Congratulations, Hig, and welcome to the family!