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Gus Kenworthy, the 24-year-old top-ranked freeskier in the world and an Olympian silver medalist, came out as gay on the cover of the most recent ESPN the Magazine.
He’s the most recent professional athlete to come out as gay over the past few years, following the footsteps of Jason Collins, Michael Sam, Megan Rapinoe, Derrick Gordon, and others.
Here’s the cover, which will hit newsstands on October 30 and was first leaked by Kenworthy himself on Twitter:
In ESPN’s accompanying profile, Kenworthy says he knew he was gay from as early as a 5-year old, but that he felt a pressure to conform to the norms of ski culture. The Telluride native also revealed that his family and closest friends have known for almost two years, but he waited before making the announcement public.
For him, being the best was a form of atonement. Kenworthy knew he was gay as early as 5 years old and felt different from other boys. With his brothers, he shared a love for skiing and hockey, but their similarities seemed to end there. ”I was insecure and ashamed,” he says. “Unless you’re gay, being gay has never been looked at as being cool. And I wanted to be cool.”
Kenworthy’s fame rose during the Sochi Olympics when he rescued five stray dogs that were scrounging around the Olympic Village and posted pictures of himself with the dogs to social media. He had been linked to Miley Cyrus and US figure skater Graice Gold, and he was on the covers of both People and US Weekly following the Olympics. He was even an answer on “Jeopardy!”
Although he expects the announcement to become the crux of his identity, Kenworthy also says he is still the fiercely competitive freeskier, and will continue to be.
“I want to be the guy who comes out, wins s— and is like, I’m taking names,” he told ESPN.