Metro Weekly

Gus Kenworthy: Russian hotel wouldn’t let me share a bed with my boyfriend

Gus Kenworthy, Credit: ESPN
Gus Kenworthy, Credit: ESPN

Olympic medal-winning freeskier Gus Kenworthy came out in October last year, but prior to that he was no stranger to homophobic discrimination. While training in Russia for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, where he took home the silver medal, Kenworthy and his boyfriend were discriminated against by the hotel they were staying in.

“I had been in Russia the year before for the test event with my boyfriend and they wouldn’t let us check into the hotel room,” he told Attitude magazine. “They were like, ‘Two guys can’t be in the same bed’.”

The experience — combined with Russia’s anti-gay attitudes and legislation — made Kenworthy sure that Russia was “unfit” to be a host country.

“I wasn’t worried about being targeted necessarily, because nobody knew that I was gay,” he said, “but I still felt uncomfortable knowing how Russia, the country and the government, felt about me.

“You quickly realize that you don’t want to be in the country anymore,” he continued. “The Olympics are the pinnacle sporting event in the world, where it’s supposed to be about all these countries coming together and yet you have this country that’s so backwards in their thinking hosting it. I don’t want to sound ungrateful because I had a good experience, but it just felt like it was an unfit hosting country.”

Kenworthy came out last year in an interview with ESPN, simply stating: “I guess I should start by saying, ‘I’m gay.’”

“I am gay. Wow, it feels good to write those words,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “For most of my life, I’ve been afraid to embrace that truth about myself. Recently though, I’ve gotten to the point where the pain of holding onto the lie is greater than the fear of letting go, and I’m very proud to finally be letting my guard down.”

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