Gus Kenworthy has a good memory of winning the Olympic silver medal in Russia in 2014 but not all of his memories in that country are good ones.
The world’s best freeskier already knew Russia was not welcoming to gay people even before he competed in the Sochi Games.
‘I had been in Russia the year before for the test event with my boyfriend and they wouldn’t let us check into the hotel room. They were like, “Two guys can’t be in the same bed,”‘ Kenworthy tells Attitude magazine.
Kenworthy, 25, came out publicly last fall and remained firmly closeted during that competition and during the Olympics.
‘It felt shitty,’ he said of being closeted at that time.
‘I wasn’t worried about being targeted necessarily, because nobody knew that I was gay but I still felt uncomfortable knowing how Russia, the country and the government, felt about me,’ he says.
‘You quickly realize that you don’t want to be in the country anymore. The Olympics are the pinnacle sporting event in the world, where it’s supposed to be about all these countries coming together and yet you have this country that’s so backwards in their thinking hosting it.’
Kenworthy does not believe Russia, with its anti-gay propaganda laws, should have been allowed the host those Olympic Games.
‘I don’t want to sound ungrateful because I had a good experience, but it just felt like it was an unfit hosting country.’