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Four years has made a big difference for Gus Kenworthy, who on Saturday shared a casual kiss with boyfriend Matthew Wilkas on NBC before his qualifying run in slopestyle skiing at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang after he scrapped a plan to come out on live television at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Kenworthy has spoken about deciding last-minute not to come out at the end of his final run at Sochi, where he won a silver medal, by kissing his boyfriend on national television. “I let him [Kenworthy’s boyfriend] fall into a little bit of an afterthought and I think it was a little bit selfish, but I just kind of kept the moment to myself,” he told NBC in January. “I think in a lot of ways it would have been an amazing statement, but I also don’t think I would have been ready at that point.”
In 2014, Kenworthy had not yet told his parents or friends that he was gay. He eventually came out publicly in a 2015 ESPN Magazine cover story after he had told his inner circle.
Kenworthy is one of three openly gay American athletes at the Pyeongchang Olympics, a list that also includes speedskater Brittany Bowe and figure skater Adam Rippon.
On Saturday, Twitter users celebrated the televised kiss, with one user writing, “Gus Kenworthy, you’re making so many LGBT Americans so very proud of you!!!” Another wrote, “That beautiful casual kiss between @guskenworthy and his boyfriend on @NBCOlympics — I’m old enough to understand how significant that is.”
Watch Kenworthy’s qualifying run on NBC’s live stream here, and see the kiss in tweets below.
Wow, what a moment! @guskenworthy shares a kiss with his boyfriend at #Olympics2018. This visibility matters. This moment of affection gives hope and inspiration to LGBTQ people everywhere. pic.twitter.com/FcDd8RcLdh
— Athlete Ally (@AthleteAlly) February 18, 2018
— Tim (@90sKidMutant) February 18, 2018
— jennymoss (@jennymoss) February 18, 2018
Pretty cool that they not only showed Gus Kenworthy kiss his boyfriend, but acknowledge him as such. It shouldn’t feel like a big deal and yet it does.
— Scotty Ray (@ScottyRayJ) February 18, 2018
Just saw @guskenworthy get a kiss from his boyfriend on National TV. It was so sweet and natural. I have my fingers crossed for him!
— Jackson Hearn (@jackson_hearn) February 18, 2018
— Rusty Hatchell (@rustyhatchell) February 18, 2018
Seeing @guskenworthy kiss his BF on prime time TV b4 his Olympic skate tonight gave me liiiiife! Rock it out tonight Mr. Thumbs
— Daniel Bayless (@DanielSF) February 18, 2018
Feb. 17, 11:54 p.m. Updated with details on Kenworthy’s 2014 final run at the Olympics.
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