“I know that I have more in the tank, but I am very much nearing my expiration date,” Gus Kenworthy says with a world-weary laugh. Though he’s only 30, in freestyle skier years that means he's about due for his AARP card. Kenworthy first broke out at the 2014 Sochi Games, where he nabbed the silver for Team U.S.A. but made headlines for adopting a family of dogs that included two puppies. Shortly after, he came out as gay—a rare admission in the bro-ified world of extreme sports, but one that he says led him to have the best season of his career. “I had this weight off my shoulders, and I was free,” he says. Kenworthy has since gotten considerably more famous than your average skier, starring in a season of American Horror Story, booking a Prada campaign, and regularly posting thirst traps for his 1.2 million Instagram followers.
This will be his final Olympics, and they're notable for another reason: He’s jumped the pond to ski for the Great Britain team. Kenworthy, who was born in the U.K. and has dual citizenship, said he started thinking about making the switch two Olympics ago. Back in 2014, he qualified for both slopestyle and half-pipe skiing, but his spot for the latter event was given to Torin Yater-Wallace. “It was just so cut-and-dried, the way they did it. I think that they didn't take into consideration that I'm a human being [who's] spent his whole life basically to get that spot,” he says. “Even if they were going to make that decision—which is ultimately their call—I still feel like they could have handled it a lot more gently, because it was hurtful.”
He's looking forward to a fresh start. “I'm so appreciative of the sport, because it's really given me this life,” he says. “But I also realized that there is just so much more to life than skiing and sports, and winning or losing.”