In 2015, Gus Kenworthy came out as gay, an announcement proclaimed on the cover of ESPN The Magazine. He is the first openly gay professional freeskier and one of just a few LGBTQ professional skiers in history. The few others’ stories might not be as familiar: Swedish alpine skier Anja Paerson, who came out as a lesbian in 2012 shortly after retiring from her racing career; and transgender and intersex downhill skier Erik Schinegger, whose professional career ended when he transitioned to live as a man.

In the long and lauded history of downhill skiing, we know of just three professional LGBTQ athletes. Why?

Kenworthy, who

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