Gus Kenworthy reflects on his first year as an out gay athlete

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Gus Kenworthy, the Olympic medal winning freeskier, has shared his thoughts and feelings one year after coming out.

Re-sharing the ESPN cover that bore the cover line: “Coming out in the post-Michael Sam World,” on Instagram, Gus explained: “I am gay. Those three words are how I began the caption on this same photo one-year-ago, today. I remember waking up that day, with the most overwhelming sense of emotions. I was excited for a future where I no longer had to mask myself with heteronormative posturing. But then, of course, I felt apprehensive because I didn’t know how people were going to react.”

He goes on to explain that he had already come out to friends an family, and “even if the rest of the world abandoned me, their support would be enough.”

“When the day finally came, I was terrified of losing friends, fans and sponsors,” he reflects. “What I didn’t anticipate though, was all that I was about to gain. I’ve gained so much over the past year and I am so tremendously thankful for all of it.

“I’ve started to love myself, a big step for someone who spent their adolescence in self-contempt. I’ve made lifelong friends, fallen in love and felt truer and happier than I ever imagined.

“I’ve witnessed myself swell with pride while holding my guy’s hand walking down the street; no longer dictated by fear to walk with my hands in my pockets acting like the person I loved was merely a friend, an acquaintance.”

He also remarked on the affect it’s had on his athletic career: “While competing I got to, finally, acknowledge my boyfriend standing at the bottom of the half-pipe cheering me on; something I regrettably failed to do in my previous 5-year-long closeted relationship. Ultimately, for the first time in my life, I got to feel free – something everybody should feel every day!

“I can’t thank you all enough for the support you’ve given me over the last year, it truly means the world to me. I get messages every day from guys saying my story has helped them come to terms with themselves or given them the confidence to tell their friends or family that they’re gay. And that, I have to say, has been the highlight of my past year. Of course there will always be nay-sayers but if I’ve helped even one person feel better about themselves then this process, for me, has all been worth it. I love you guys. ❤️”

I am gay. Those three words are how I began the caption on this same photo one-year-ago, today. I remember waking up that day, with the most overwhelming sense of emotions. I was excited for a future where I no longer had to mask myself with heteronormative posturing. But then, of course, I felt apprehensive because I didn't know how people were going to react. I'd already told my immediate family and a few close friends and they all offered nothing but love and support and I decided that even if the rest of the world abandoned me, their support would be enough. However when the day finally came, I was terrified of losing friends, fans and sponsors. What I didn't anticipate though, was all that I was about to gain. I've gained so much over the past year and I am so tremendously thankful for all of it. I've started to love myself, a big step for someone who spent their adolescence in self-contempt. I've made lifelong friends, fallen in love and felt truer and happier than I ever imagined. I've witnessed myself swell with pride while holding my guy's hand walking down the street; no longer dictated by fear to walk with my hands in my pockets acting like the person I loved was merely a friend, an acquaintance. I got to ski completely unencumbered and ended up having my best competitive season ever because of it. And while competing I got to, finally, acknowledge my boyfriend standing at the bottom of the half-pipe cheering me on; something I regrettably failed to do in my previous 5-year-long closeted relationship. Ultimately, for the first time in my life, I got to feel free – something everybody should feel every day! I can't thank you all enough for the support you've given me over the last year, it truly means the world to me. I get messages every day from guys saying my story has helped them come to terms with themselves or given them the confidence to tell their friends or family that they're gay. And that, I have to say, has been the highlight of my past year. Of course there will always be nay-sayers but if I've helped even one person feel better about themselves then this process, for me, has all been worth it. I love you guys. ❤️????????????????

A photo posted by gus kenworthy (@guskenworthy) on

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