The Olympic skier broke barriers as his kiss was seen worldwide.
Although Gus Kenworthy missed out on an Olympic medal, probably in part to his broken thumb, it was what happened before the event that caught everyone’s attention.
Before he went down the slopes, he was joined by friends and family, and shared a kiss with his boyfriend, Matthew Wilkas. The quick peck was caught by NBC cameras, and broadcast all around the world to millions of viewers.
Following the event, Kenworthy told The Guardian: “I didn’t even know that that was a televised moment at all, but I think that’s amazing.
“That’s something that I wanted at the last Olympics was to share a kiss with my boyfriend at the bottom and it was something that I was too scared to do for myself.
“And so to be able to do that, to give him a kiss, to have that affection broadcasted for the world is incredible.”
He then continued, saying: “I think that the only way to really change perceptions, break down homophobia, break down barriers is through representation. That’s definitely not something I had as a kid.
“I definitely didn’t see a gay athlete at the Olympics kissing their boyfriend and I think that if I had it would have made it a lot easier for me, so hopefully it did that for other people.”
Despite losing out on the Olympic medal, Kenworthy wasn’t phased, saying: “If you look at me right now, I’m bummed but I’m not sulking, I’m not crying.
“I’m really proud to be here. Being out at this Games has kind of meant the world to me. Just getting to really be myself and be authentic and I think that landing a run in the final, getting on the podium obviously would have been icing on the cake.
“But even though it didn’t happen for me, I still had a wonderful Olympic experience and I’m really happy for the guys that did get on the podium. I don’t know, maybe there’s a next time.”
He finished the interview, by saying: “It wasn’t the sports result I was hoping for but I’m very proud to be representing the LGBTQ community and happy to be here with other athletes that also are. And just be part of such an amazing and diverse country.”
Yesterday, Kenworthy posted a picture of him and his boyfriend, calling him his “Seoul mate”.
My Seoul mate! He's a little late for Valentine's Day but he made it just in time to see me compete tomorrow (tonight for you guys in the states)! Feeling very lucky to have him, my family, my agent and some amazing friends here in Korea cheering me on. The past few days of practice have been pretty tough (I broke my thumb two days ago and yesterday got a massive hematoma on my hip that needed to be drained), but despite it all I'm still so excited to go out there and give it my all. Win or lose I'm gonna be walking away with my head held high! Thank you all for your words of encouragement and support, I wouldn't be here without you! #TeamUSA ????????????️????
This Winter Olympics was the first where Gus competed as an openly gay athlete after he came out in an interview with ESPN in October 2015.
“I don’t think I could have ever come out as a gay athlete 30 years ago and expected to be successful in my sport,” said Kenworthy. “My story’s indicative of change.”
Gus opened up about his first year as an out athlete last October, reflecting on being able to have his boyfriend as his actual boyfriend at events.
“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,” he said.
The 2018 Winter Olympics is currently taking place in PyeongChang in South Korea from 9-25 February.