Not a lot of people have the privilege of coming out as gay on the cover of a national sports publication, but Olympic freeskier Gus Kenworthy did last October with ESPN Magazine, and he reflected about the whole experience, the huge amount of support he’s received from fans, and how it could have went very differently on Monday night’s episode of Conan O’Brien’s late-night show.
“Leading into the Russian Olympics, there was all of this anti-LGBT [legislation], and they had warned people about if any of the athletes are gay, try not to show it because it’s very unsafe and it’s not accepted,” Kenworthy told O’Brien, recalling how he thought about coming out publicly during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
“I was like, that's bullshit! I wasn’t even out, but that's ridiculous! I had a boyfriend at the time and had talked about landing the best run ever and winning an Olympic gold medal and kissing him at the bottom and I was like, that would be my way of telling everyone.”
“It didn’t happen, and I'm glad it didn’t because I hadn’t told my mom, my dad, my brothers,” Kenworthy added, even though he’s known he's gay for most of his life. “It would have not only been a shock to the sport and the to the Olympics, but my family would have been like, ‘What the hell?’”
Watch Kenworthy’s guest appearance on Conan in the video below.