Winter Olympics 2018: Gus Kenworthy hits out at haters as he defends kissing his boyfriend on live TV
Gus Kenworthy has defended kissing his boyfriend on live TV.
The Team USA skier lost his final race of the 2018 Winter Olympics, but his kiss with boyfriend Matthew Wilkas caused a flood of acclaim and celebration on social media.
It was just a peck on the lips, but the fact that it took place on NBC, live on primetime network TV, in front of tens of millions internationally, made it historic.
The kiss between Kenworthy and his partner was treated as run-of-the-mill – at least, by everyone present.
The NBC commentator saw the kiss – a quick show of affection before Kenworthy took to the slopes – and simply told viewers about “his boyfriend, Matt Wilkas.”
Speaking earlier on the Today show, the Olympic silver medallist condemned objections to him kissing his partner.
“My entire life, in movies and commercials, in public… you see straight, heterosexual love, and that’s completely fine because it’s ‘normal.'”
So, he said, “us also showing the same type of affection isn’t shoving it in your face.
“It’s just us existing.”
Kenworthy also joked that fellow US Olympian Adam Rippon had objected to the kiss – for different reasons.
“He was mostly jealous,” said the skier.
Kenworthy came out in 2015, the year after the last Winter Olympics, in Sochi, Russia, so this was his first Olympics as an out gay man.
After his event, he said: “I didn’t even know that that was a televised moment at all, but I think that’s amazing,” according to The Guardian.
Kenworthy explained: “That’s something that I wanted at the last Olympics was to share a kiss with my boyfriend at the bottom and it was something that I was too scared to do for myself.
“And so to be able to do that, to give him a kiss, to have that affection broadcasted for the world is incredible.
“I think that the only way to really change perceptions, break down homophobia, break down barriers is through representation. That’s definitely not something I had as a kid.
“I definitely didn’t see a gay athlete at the Olympics kissing their boyfriend and I think that if I had it would have made it a lot easier for me, so hopefully it did that for other people.”
Last week, the Team USA freestyle skier proudly posted a photo on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook of him and his partner holding hands in front of the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium.
And the skier – who competed after breaking his thumb and having six vials of blood drained from a hematoma on his hip – said that despite not getting a medal, these Games had been significant.
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“If you look at me right now, I’m bummed but I’m not sulking, I’m not crying,” Kenworthy said.
“I’m really proud to be here. Being out at this Games has kind of meant the world to me.
“Just getting to really be myself and be authentic and I think that landing a run in the final, getting on the podium obviously would have been icing on the cake.
“But even though it didn’t happen for me, I still had a wonderful Olympic experience and I’m really happy for the guys that did get on the podium. I don’t know, maybe there’s a next time.”