To celebrate World Animal Day, here are five winter sports athletes and their (mostly) furry friends

Mostly it's pooches that get the love from the winter sports stars with cats getting short shrift but there are a couple of unusual animal friends that make an appearance on the list.

By Jo Gunston
Picture by 2018 Getty Images

Sport stars are often away from home, travelling the world to compete, but when they are homeward bound, one of the first things they look forward to being reunited with is their pets. So, in order to celebrate World Animal Day, brings you winter sports athletes and their animal friends.

Gus Kenworthy

One of the most memorable names when it comes to winter sports athletes and their love of animals is the 2014 Olympic snowboard slopestyle silver medallist, Gus Kenworthy. The American went viral after he posted of photo of himself with stray puppies he’d come across in Sochi, two of which he went on to adopt.

Chloe Kim

When snowboard superstar, Chloe Kim, appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated in February 2018 it wasn’t the PyeongChang Winter Olympics halfpipe champion who was wearing the gold medal but her beloved dog, Reese. The miniature Australian Shepherd, who also has his own Instagram account, posed happily with his bling, while dog mum Kim was just happy that he sat still for the photo.

Shaun White

The snowboarding legend’s fluffy pup Leroy may have his own Instagram account but Shaun White appears to be at one with many animals. White’s own Instagram account, which could be filled with pictures of him showcasing one of his three Winter Olympic halfpipe gold medals, instead shows the American holding a teeny tiny frog and also meeting a lemur. Leroy’s account, however, @leroythegoodboy is all about looking fluffy and cute.

Brittany Bowe

Feline fan Brittany Bowe called her first cat Gym because that’s where the speed skater spent so much of her time. She moved on to cats Chloe and Patches, which the Olympic bronze medallist, five-time world champion and world record holder adopted from a local shelter in her hometown of Florida.

Alex and Maia Shibutani

The Shibsibs, as their joint Instagram account calls them (otherwise known as Alex and Maia Shibutani), raise their two Maltese dogs together. The sibling figure skaters, who won Olympic bronze for the USA in two events at PyeongChang 2018 – the team and ice dancing disciplines – of course have an Instagram account for the pooches, Lily and Po.