Olympian Gus Kenworthy has revealed
that he struggled with depression before publicly coming out gay.
The 29-year-old freestyle skier came
out on the cover of ESPN Magazine following his silver medal
win at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Four years later, during the Winter
Games in South Korea, Kenworthy made headlines when he kissed his
then-boyfriend Matt Wilkas after a run.
Kenworthy says he would kiss his boyfriend at Beijing 2022 Winter
In an Instagram post, Kenworthy said
that he feared coming out would hurt his career, but it had the
“It’s exhausting being in the
closet,” Kenworthy wrote. “There was so much time and energy put
into harboring that secret that I think it really took a toll on my
mental health and I struggled with depression and at moments in my
life, thoughts of suicide.”
Kenworthy says he's participating in AIDS LifeCycle to help educate
youth about HIV.)
“I think for a lot of my career and
my coming up in the sport, my mental health was kind of put on the
back burner, and I feel like I was really compartmentalizing. I was
not out of the closet. When I did take that stand and come out it was
the best thing I could have ever done for my mental health. I thought
it was gonna be, like, a thing that maybe it was a hindrance for my
sport, and it was the exact opposite. My following year after coming
out was my best season to date. I felt so liberated, I had a huge
weight off my shoulders…I think that mental health is so important
and I’m so glad that it’s something that is getting talked about
more and more frequently now because it’s so important for
everybody. It’s especially important for LGBTQ kids who are at a
much higher risk of self-harm, just because they do struggle to come
to terms with themselves, ourselves, and the rate of suicide is so
much higher,” he said.