The Opening Ceremony for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games has been full of excitement, and it hasn’t even aired in the US at the time this article was posted. From North and South Korea marching as one during the Parade of Nations, to the return of the oiled and glistening athlete from Tonga, and of course Gus Kenworthy sharing his pride with the world, these Olympic Games have certainly gotten off to a fantastic start.
— Gus Kenworthy (@guskenworthy) February 9, 2018
Since coming out in 2015, Kenworthy has been a strong voice for gay rights and pride. In a recent interview with The Advocate, the British-born American athlete discusses how hard it was to live in the closet.
Now in a relationship with actor Matthew Wilkas (Gayby), Kenworthy can no longer imagine putting up with the restraints that once surrounded his covert love life. “Dating in the closet is torture,” he says looking back. “It’s one of the most difficult things, especially if you are completely closeted. And I was, so I had no one to talk to if something in the relationship was bothering me or if I needed to vent.”
Tonight I walked in the #OpeningCeremony and got to watch my old friend @Yunaaaa light the Olympic flame. Representing the USA is one of the greatest honors of my life and being able to do it as my authentic self makes it all so much sweeter 🇺🇸🏳️🌈🏆🌎❤️🔥 pic.twitter.com/ZypvWkUBjD
— Adam Rippon (@Adaripp) February 9, 2018
The 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea will mark the first time Kenworthy will compete as an out and proud gay man. It comes as no surprise that the skier is eager to share something he hid for so long.
While the Olympic Games do a good job at promoting and encouraging inclusivity and acceptance, that message can get lost in delivery at times. During the 2016 Olympic Games we discussed some of the homophobia that can come across in Olympic broadcasting, as well as a disturbing attempt by a journalist to out gay athletes by luring them with a dating app. Although veiled or even blatant homophobia still exists in the media, a major US broadcaster took steps to change that trend during the last Olympic Games in Rio.
But as with all things, acceptance comes by those with the courage to speak out. We’re thrilled that Gus Kenworthy is able to be proud of who he is and share it with the world.