Why Is Gus Kenworthy Competing for Great Britain, Not the US?

Why Is Gus Kenworthy Competing for Nice Britain, Not the US?

He has competed within the Winter Video games twice earlier than, however this 12 months will look completely different for the freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy. He has a brand new staff and a brand new Olympic occasion: halfpipe snowboarding.

Kenworthy, who was born in Britain and grew up in Telluride, Colo., mentioned he started fascinated about competing for his start nation in 2012, as he ready for the Sochi Video games. A twin citizen, Kenworthy skied for america on the 2014 and 2018 Video games.

Regardless of qualifying for each slopestyle and halfpipe snowboarding in 2014, he misplaced his spot for halfpipe when it was given to a teammate at a coach’s discretion earlier than the Video games. Competing solely in slopestyle, Kenworthy received the silver medal in Sochi.

He certified once more in slopestyle in 2018 however narrowly missed making the halfpipe staff. Kenworthy mentioned he had been hoping for a distinct consequence — or a training choice in his favor this time.

“There’s a fatigue issue” in enduring the rigorous course of of creating the U.S. staff, Kenworthy mentioned, including that he felt he had utterly exhausted himself working to qualify in each disciplines.

Deciding to ski for Britain meant he may extra seamlessly lock within the halfpipe occasion. “I received to coach for the Video games, versus prepare to qualify to compete,” Kenworthy mentioned. He mentioned he had felt much less stress, permitting him to extra narrowly deal with his snowboarding.

“That could be a completely different expertise from what I’ve had the previous two Video games,” he mentioned. “So it does really feel like I’m beginning contemporary.”

The choice, which he introduced in 2019, additionally had an emotional issue. It was a strategy to honor his greatest fan: his mom.

“I need to do that for my mother,” mentioned Kenworthy, whose mom is from a city outdoors Liverpool, in northwest England. “She bent over backward to make the whole lot occur for me and actually make my desires come true.” He mentioned he had a imaginative and prescient of holding up the British flag from the rostrum in her honor.

The boys’s halfpipe competitors started with {qualifications} on Thursday, and the finals will likely be held on Saturday on the Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou. Kenworthy certified, however simply barely, getting the final of 12 spots.

Kenworthy mentioned he was proud to be again for a 3rd Olympics, a uncommon accomplishment for athletes who endure the bodily pressure of freestyle snowboarding.

“I’ve a run in thoughts that I feel is exclusive to me and exhibits how I ski and the way I strategy halfpipe,” he mentioned. “I simply need to land the run — and I do suppose that if I land it, it’s going to do effectively. However I don’t need to put a lot emphasis on what which means.”

The one aim, he mentioned, was to take pleasure in that second of lastly competing in halfpipe on the Olympics.

Medals apart, Kenworthy’s profession has begun to transcend the game. He has gained a following in america since 2015 when he got here out as homosexual — a rarity on this planet of maximum sports activities — and booked performing and modeling gigs in “American Horror Story” and a Prada promoting marketing campaign.

“Once I look again at my profession, attending to compete as an out athlete and attending to be an advocate for the LGBTQ neighborhood has meant extra to me than any medal or accolade ever may,” he wrote on Instagram, reflecting on starting his remaining Olympic Video games. “I really feel without end grateful for this second, this sport and this life.”

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