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Gus Kenworthy Recalls the Groundbreaking Olympic Moment He’ll Never Forget With Adam Rippon

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Adam Rippon by Gus Kenworthy 

I used to be conscious of Adam earlier than we truly ever met. We had been each on the qualification journey to the 2018 Winter Olympics, making an attempt to earn spots in our respective sports activities and we had been getting a little bit of media consideration as a result of we had been the one two overtly homosexual males making an attempt to make the workforce. Once I started following his journey, I knew nearly nothing about him or about determine skating generally, however as a fellow homosexual man I used to be rooting for him. It appeared he was rooting for me, too, as a result of on 12 December 2017 he messaged me saying, “I feel you are so superior and I SO admire you for being your self. You even have my dream enamel. I hope we get the possibility to satisfy in Korea! Till then . . .” It was such a form and healthful message and it got here within the midst of my choice occasions after I really wanted it. I wrote him again asking him about his qualification course of and letting him know that I used to be cheering him on, too. He earned his spot first—the determine skating and free-skiing occasions do not line up on the identical dates—and I earned mine a couple of week and a half after him, and we knew that we’d each be going to the Video games as the primary two overtly homosexual males in Winter Olympics’ historical past. It was very thrilling.

My first Olympics in 2014 I used to be within the closet, and though I received a silver medal, I do not assume I actually loved my time there, and the next media tour that adopted brought about me large turmoil as a result of I felt like a fraud. I knew that getting to return to a second Video games as my sincere, genuine self was going to be a a lot totally different expertise, however I had no thought how significantly better it was going to be and the way necessary Adam can be in that have. There was an interview earlier than the Video games the place NBC requested Adam what it was wish to be a homosexual athlete, to which he responded, “It is similar to being a straight athlete, however with higher eyebrows.” I howled after I noticed the quote. Adam being so boldly himself in flip gave me the permission to be extra myself. I really feel like I got here into my very own after I got here out. Till that time I had stored my playing cards so near my chest that I had actually stifled my humorousness and lots of the issues that make me, me. Though I used to be now being myself, I discovered myself falling into outdated tendencies and seeing Adam be so blatantly, effectively . . . Adam, gave me permission to do the identical. To actually let my guard down.

Though I did not win a medal in 2018, I felt proud showcasing my genuine self to the world. My household and my boyfriend on the time, Matt, had been there cheering me on, and it was unimaginable to have their help. Earlier than I went as much as take my run within the remaining spherical of our competitors, I hugged my household and kissed my boyfriend—a really informal, regular, insignificant kiss. I did not actually assume something of it on the time however unbeknownst to me the entire thing was being filmed and broadcast around the globe. After the competitors everyone was asking me about “that kiss”! At first I did not even know what they had been speaking about. In a approach that kiss, that second, was type of my legacy for these Video games. And despite the fact that it was an “insignificant” kiss it was truly most likely some of the important kisses of my life. That kiss was beamed into televisions around the globe, into dwelling rooms in international locations the place homosexuality remains to be not accepted or the place it is nonetheless unlawful. That kiss was seen by dad and mom who’ve struggled to just accept their homosexual sons and by younger homosexual athletes who’ve feared there won’t be a future for them in sports activities. Homosexual illustration—whether or not it is on TV, in popular culture, in sports activities, or simply in our every day lives—is what has helped normalize and destigmatize homosexuality in society and I feel that kiss did rather a lot by way of normalization. That kiss was my objective in Korea, whether or not I knew it or not, and attending to be myself, out and proud alongside Adam Rippon, was one of many biggest privileges of my profession.

For the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics I will be competing for Workforce Nice Britain. I used to be born in Essex and my mum’s English. My dad’s American however he was working in London when he met my mum. They fell in love and had three boys, the final of which was me. We moved to the States after I was three, so I grew up within the States and have at all times considered myself as American, however I maintain twin citizenship. There have been lots of components in my determination to modify groups, however the largest was to honor my mum. For 2 full Olympic cycles she’s come to World Cups and qualifying occasions, wearing stars and stripes and waving an American flag, cheering me and my teammates on despite the fact that she’s not American. This time, I need to pay tribute to her and maintain up the Union Jack to let her know that I am as pleased with my English mum as she is of her half-English son. 

Adam is humorous and brazen and daring and self-deprecating, all whereas oozing confidence. He is nearly unimaginable to not like and inside minutes of assembly him I knew we had been going to be mates for all times. Not like the Summer time Olympics the place all of the athletes are housed collectively, within the Winter Olympics the villages are unfold out over two or extra areas. In Korea there was a coastal village and a mountain village that had been about an hour and a half from each other. Adam was within the coastal village and I used to be within the mountain village, so we hadn’t met previous to the opening ceremony. That evening I used to be searching for him all over the place as a result of it was the primary time that the athletes from all of the totally different sports activities had been in the identical place without delay. As I used to be searching for him I used to be filming it on my Instagram story, going as much as each particular person asking, “Adam? Adam? Is that you simply?” It began as type of a joke as a result of there have been actually tons of of individuals and everybody’s sporting the very same outfit, however then I nervous I could not truly discover him on this sea of stars and stripes. I did, although. And after I did, he screamed on the prime of his lungs, threw his palms up, and jumped on me, wrapping his legs round my waist. Everyone, athletes and coaches from different international locations, turned to see what was occurring and Adam simply hugged me, not caring how additional and dramatic it was. He’s really unapologetically himself and it is considered one of my favourite issues about him. 

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