Gus Kenworthy to honour mum on Olympic farewell

The Sochi 2014 silver medallist will "pay tribute" to his mother Pip's support on and off the slopes as he represents her country, Great Britain, in Beijing.

By Liz Byrnes
Picture by 2020 Getty Images

Gus Kenworthy has said he will honour his mother Pip at Beijing 2022.

A year after his Sochi 2014 slopestyle silver, Pip waved "a rainbow flag like a crazy person" in Kenworthy's first competition since publicly coming out as gay.

The freestyle skier went to PyeongChang 2018 as a medal favourite, but finished outside the medals having received death threats and abuse on social media in the build-up.

Now ahead of his third and final Olympic Winter Games, he says coming out was his greatest accomplishment on or off the snow and that he hopes he can inspire others to do likewise.

The 30-year-old, who has switched allegiance from the United States to Great Britain, wants to thank her for her guidance and encouragement throughout a stellar career which has yielded medals at Olympic Games, World Championships, and X Games.

He told People.com: "My mom is my number one fan. She is obviously a huge supporter of me, but also my friend.

"She's just truly been so supportive of me and I wanted to do this to honour her.

"I'm very excited to get to kind of pay tribute to her at my last Games," he adds. "I wish she could be there in person, but, with Covid and everything, she won't be. But I know she's going to be very excited to watch."

Why is Gus Kenworthy competing for Great Britain at Beijing 2022?

Kenworthy announced in 2019 that he would represent Team GB having been born in Chelmsford, Essex to Pip and his American father Peter.

After making the switch, he claimed his first World Cup halfpipe win in over four years in Calgary in February 2020.

This season marks the end of a 14-year professional career which began when he was just 16, but he retains the thrill and buzz he felt when he first started competing.

He said: "I think the thing that I am excited about for any competition is just that kind of feeling of nervousness and anticipation and excitement, and then relief when you get to the bottom of the run and you've landed a run."

Kenworthy is also making his name outside of sport with his LGBTQ activism and appearances in TV shows including American Horror Story, Will and Grace and Ru Paul's Drag Race All Stars.

His YouTube channel has racked up over eight million views, and he is well prepared for life after competition.

"I feel like I have very much put in my time, and I have a lot of love for this sport," he added. "I feel truly, truly, truly grateful for everything that's provided me and everything I've gotten to do because of it.

"But I'm looking forward to the next chapter in my life and whatever that may hold."

When is Gus Kenworthy competing at Beijing 2022?

Gus Kenworthy competes in freestyle skiing halfpipe qualification on Thursday 17 February at 12:30 Beijing time (04:30 GMT).

Should he reach the final, he will bid for his first global gold medal on Saturday 19 February at 09:30 Beijing time (01:30 GMT).

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