Get the podium ready! Olympic freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy is headed to Pyeongchang, South Korea, after qualifying for the Olympics on Sunday, January 21, after his second-place finish at the Men’s Freeski Slopestyle Finals in Mammoth Mountain in California. This will be the second Olympic trip for the Telluride, Colorado, native. He won the silver medal in men’s freestyle skiing at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Get to know Kenworthy, 26, in the video above!
The athlete, who came out after his first Olympic trip to ESPN magazine in October 2015, recently told Us that opening up about his sexuality was a huge weight off his shoulders.
“Since I came out of the closet, I’ve gotten to just really be myself and feel authentic and honest and genuine,” he explained. “It’s just been a huge relief for me competitively.”
Not only has it been a relief for the Olympic silver medalist, but he also thinks it has helped him focus more as an athlete.
“At the top of the course, I used to always be distracted,” he revealed. “All the different parts of my life were completely compartmentalized and I had so much to focus on, so much distracting me. Now I’m just able to kind of be present in the moment and I think it’s helped a lot.”
Kenworthy has also been able to confide in his boyfriend, actor Matthew Wilkas, while training for the Olympics.
“He definitely helps me try and see the importance in other things that I have in my life. [I try] not [to] put all my emphasis and everything on the Olympics because it’s a huge deal, but it’s not the end all, be all,” said the Olympian.
His relationship with Wilkas, 39, has opened his eyes to more in life beyond skiing: “There’s so much more to life that I love and enjoy and have to be grateful for.”
To learn more about Gus Kenworthy, visit teamusa.org. The Olympics begin February 8, and will air on NBC.
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