Gus Kenworthy: Bigger profile brought both pressure and support

Gus Kenworthy of the United States reacts during the Freestyle Skiing Men's Ski Slopestyle Final on day nine of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park on February 18, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (WOOD) — A lot has happened for freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy since he won silver at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

One of those things was coming out as gay. He told WOOD TV8’s Jack Doles that coming out, combined with being a returning medalist, created added pressure coming in to PyeongChang.

“I definitely felt like I had a lot of pressure on me just because I was a returning medalist and I did come out and there was a lot of speculation in interviews and publicity that surrounded it and had a few really solid competition years since then,” Kenworthy said. “I think that I definitely got a much bigger profile, so that kind of made added pressure.”

But along with that pressure came support.

“That also made it easier,” the 26-year-old Olympian said. “I feel like there (were) a lot of people rooting me on.”

When asked what caused him to come out when he did, Kenworthy said part of the reason was his experience in Sochi.

“Going there and getting a medal, I felt like I couldn’t really enjoy it. Especially the moments afterward because I didn’t feel like I was being true to myself,” he said. “I felt like I was being deceitful in interviews and avoiding answers, lying by omission. I didn’t feel very good about myself and so I wanted to do something, I wanted to change that.”

So is Kenworthy setting his sights on Beijing in 2022?

“It’s kind of too soon to say,” he said. “Part of me was thinking this might be my last games. I’ll be 30 at the next games. I know Shaun White just won at 31 in snowboarding but it’s definitely uncommon, it’s a young sport. I’m kind of just taking it day by day.”