The Atlantic

The Out Olympics

Adam Rippon and Gus Kenworthy show the entertainment value, and political power, of gay people embracing full visibility.
Source: Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

Editor’s Note: Read more of The Atlantic’s Winter Olympics 2018 coverage.

At the 2014 Olympics where he won the silver medal in slopestyle skiing, Gus Kenworthy toyed with the idea of finishing up one of his runs by skiing up to the crowd of spectators and kissing his boyfriend. It would have been a dramatic way for Kenworthy to become the first openly gay male from the U.S. in Winter Olympics history. But Kenworthy wasn’t out, back then, to his parents and siblings. He decided it’d be too much, too soon.

“It would have not only been a shock to the sport and the Olympics,” he later told Conan O’Brien about the hypothetical same-sex kiss in Sochi. “My family would have been like, ‘What the hell?!’”

Instead, he came out to his inner circle, and then to the world with a 2015 . He’s arrived now at the Pyeongchang Olympics as one of a pair of history-making gay competitors. His counterpart is

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