“I’M GOING BACK TO THE OLYMPICS!”
Out freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy has officially become the first action sports star and the second openly gay athlete to qualify for the Winter Olympics.
Gus won a place on the team after after winning the Slopestyle Finals in Colorado last week, and for taking second place at the Freeski Slopestyle Finals in Mammoth Mountain, Calif.
The 26-year-old previously won a medal at the 2014 Olympics, but didn’t come out until his interview with ESPN magazine in 2015.
He joins figure skater Adam Rippon, who became the first out athlete to quality for the games earlier this month.
Gus previously told reporters that “nothing would make me happier” than competing in the Olympics again, and said he wants to be a positive representation for the U.S. and the LGBTQ community.
”There are all these stereotypes and stigmas that people have associated in their mind over time but nothing breaks barriers down more than visibility or representation. Having someone at the Olympics, the pinnacle event in sports, competing against the best in the world and being out and proud and gay and getting a medal, it would be amazing.
“There is pressure that comes with this responsibility and I feel I have a responsibility to the LGBT community now. I want to lead by example and I want to be a positive example and an inspiration for any kids that I can.”
Both Gus and Adam have stated they would turn down a visit to the White House, if invited.
Speaking to the BBC, Adam said: “It’s our duty, as athletes, to be role models. I won’t go to the White House.”
He then elaborated on his reasons, saying: “I won’t go because I don’t think somebody like me would be welcome there. I know what it’s like to go into a room and feel like you’re not wanted there.
“Given this platform of being an Olympic athlete, I think it’s really important that we stand up for what we believe in, and we speak out against things that we think are wrong and unjust.”
Gus told TIME: “I have no interest in faking support. I don’t want to go shake his hand.”
“That is just a direct attack on the LGBT community,” he said. “It shows more courage to leave the house as a trans person than Trump has ever had to show.”
The 2018 Winter Olympics will take place in PyeongChang in South Korea from 9-25 February.