Olympic freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy's televised kiss with his boyfriend, Matt Wilkas, during the Winter Games has been named "the gay sports moment of 2018" by Outsports.
"For me, the Kenworthy-Wilkas kiss was the iconic LGBT sports moment of 2018," Outsports' Jim Buzinski wrote in an article posted late Thursday. "We highlighted our athletes and heroes of the year, all worthy winners. But for a single moment, nothing beat the few-seconds kiss."
Kenworthy failed to win a medal at the Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, in February, but the kiss made history. It came during the qualifying rounds for his sport, and Kenworthy acknowledged its importance.
"To be able to do that, to give him a kiss, to have that affection broadcast to the world, is incredible," he said afterward. "The only way to really change perceptions, to break down barriers, break down homophobia, is through representation. That's definitely not something I had as a kid. I never saw a gay athlete kissing their boyfriend at the Olympics. I think if I had, it would've made it easier for me."
Kenworthy won a silver medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and came out a year later. During this year's games, he and a fellow out U.S. Olympian, figure skater Adam Rippon, made many statements critical of Donald Trump and Mike Pence. When Kenworthy broke a thumb during practice, he said it wouldn't keep him from competing but he was happy it would prevent him from shaking Pence's hand.
His kiss with Wilkas was remarkable for being unremarkable, Outsports notes. NBC, which broadcast the moment, treated it just as it would treat a kiss between a man and a woman.
It came two years after NBC failed to mention that Olympic diver Tom Daley is gay, despite the presence of Dustin Lance Black, the Oscar-winning screenwriter who eventually became his husband. Also that year, 2016, an NBC broadcaster referred to a female Brazilian volleyball player's wife as her husband. And in 2008, NBC ignored the fact that diver Matthew Mitcham is gay, even though his boyfriend was in attendance.
One day, the sight of two men kissing may be commonplace, Buzinski wrote. For now, he noted, "I guarantee that there were young LGBT athletes dealing with their struggles who were given a jolt of hope by seeing something as natural as two men kissing."