Olympic Skier Gus Kenworthy Comes Out as Gay: ''I Couldn't Be More Proud to Tell You the Truth''

"My sexuality has been something I've struggled to come to terms with," the athlete wrote on Instagram

By Alyssa Toomey Oct 22, 2015 4:45 PMTags

Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy has come out as gay. 

The 24-year-old athlete, who won a silver medal in Men's freestyle skiing at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, penned a lengthy Instagram post and shared the news about his sexuality with his fans in addition to opening up to ESPN for a revealing interview about his personal life. 

"I am gay. Wow, it feels good to write those words. For most of my life I've been afraid to embrace that truth about myself. Recently though, I've gotten to the point where the pain of holding onto the lie is greater than the fear of letting go, and I'm proud to finally be letting my guard down," he wrote alongside a photo from his ESPN shoot. 

D Dipasupil/Getty Images

"My sexuality has been something I've struggled to come to terms with," the Colorado native continued. "I've known I was gay since I was a kid but growing up in a town of 2,000 people, a class of 48 kids and then turning pro as an athlete when I was 16, it just wasn't something I wanted to accept. I pushed my feelings away in the hopes that it was a passing phase but the thought of being found out kept me up at night. I constantly felt anxious, depressed and even suicidal. 

"Looking back, it's crazy to see how far I've come," Kenworthy, who also made headlines in 2014 when he rescued stray dogs in Sochi, wrote. "For most of my life I've dreaded the day that people would find out I was gay. Now, I couldn't be more excited to tell you all the truth. Whether you've suspected it all along or it's a complete shock, it's important for me to be open and honest with you all. Y'all have supported me through a lot of my highs and lows and I hope you'll stay by my side as I make this transformation into the genuine me - the me that I've always really been."

AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Kenworthy also thanked ESPN for the opportunity to share his story with the world. The article reveals that Kenworthy began coming out to his closest family and friends nearly two years ago. 

"I think about the pain I put myself through by closeting myself for so long and it breaks my heart," the star athlete shared. "If only I knew then what I know now: that the people who love you, who really care about you, will be by your side no matter what; and, that those who aren't accepting of you are not the people you want or need in your life anyway."

The freestyle skier concluded by saying he hopes to be a role model for the younger generation.


"Part of the reason I had such a difficult time as a kid was that I didn't know anyone in my position and didn't have someone to look up to, who's footsteps I could follow in," he revealed. "I hope to be that person for a younger generation, to model honesty and transparency and to show people that there's nothing cooler than being yourself and embracing the things that make you unique." 

For more on Kenworthy, head over to ESPNESPN The Magazine's Being Out Issue hits newsstands on Oct. 30. 

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