GB’s freeski star Gus Kenworthy says goodbye to the slopes: "The final hurrah, my swansong"

The 2014 Olympic silver medallist had an eventful last day of his career at Beijing 2022: despite falling twice, the Brit was “just grateful to be walking away in one piece”.

By Evelyn Watta
Picture by 2022 Getty Images

Gus Kenworthy had hoped he would go the full distance in his final three runs at Beijing 2022.

Instead, he crashed out on his first, before going down hard on his second run, but was relieved to at least score 71.25 in his last round in the halfpipe final.

“The final hurrah. My swan song. I'm done, I'm done competing. I've had a career that I'm really, really proud of," he said to Olympics.com after finishing eighth.

Nico Porteous won New Zealand’s second-ever gold medal at the Winter Olympics halfpipe with a brilliant first run in windy conditions. Americans David Wise and Alex Ferreira took silver and bronze respectively.

Though not quite the ending he’d wanted, Kenworthy was content with having finished at least a run in his last competition before retirement.

"It wasn't really the third round that I hoped for, but after a bad slam and run to, I'm just grateful to put one down and be walking away in one piece," said Kenworthy after the event.

"I've been on the podium of pretty much every contest and skiing for pipe and slope and big air. And I just feel so lucky to have gotten to travel the world and made so many good friends and compete in three Olympic Games. And it's been awesome. I was super happy and grateful and feeling good."

Kenworthy, 30, won silver as an American at Sochi 2014 before switching to Team GB for Beijing 2022, which he said would be his last Olympics.

He endured a rough journey since then as he shrugged off injuries and illness to make it to his final runs.

It was a teary farewell.

"It actually really hit me this year. I had a few people like guys that are in this field, message me and say that like they looked up to me and it's like, it chokes me up. It's amazing.

"I feel like I look up to them too, even if they're younger and I feel just lucky just to be friends. And there's just so many good people in the sport, and I'm proud that I got to be a part of it for as long as I did."

Kenworthy: An advocate for LGBT+ rights

The skier has helped transform the culture around LGBTQ+ athletes.

The British-American famously kissed his boyfriend live on television before his qualifying run in Pyeongchang 2018.

Speaking to Olympics.com he said: "When I came out and I did it in a public way, I said, like, ‘I think this can help someone else. There's got to be someone else like, I am in the closet, struggling in sports or whatever it is. And if this article, this coming out story, can have a positive impact on one person, that person, then it'll be worth it'," he recalled.

"I do think it's had a positive effect on many more people than that, so I feel very, very grateful to have been a part of other people's coming out experiences and a part of their journey, just like so many people who are a part of mine. And it's been incredible. It's a huge honour like competing as an out athlete, I think is the biggest privilege that I've ever, and I feel very proud."

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