Didn't realize this moment was being filmed yesterday but I'm so happy that it was. My childhood self would never have dreamed of seeing a gay kiss on TV at the Olympics but for the first time ever a kid watching at home CAN! Love is love is love. pic.twitter.com/8t0zHjgDg8
— Gus Kenworthy (@guskenworthy) February 19, 2018
Gus Kenworthy and Adam Rippon had the world waving rainbow American flags and praising their honesty as openly gay athletes at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Although Gus won silver in 2014 for men's freestyle skiing in Sochi, Russia, everything changed when he came out on the cover of ESPN magazine in 2015. He competed in 2018 as his true self, and that's why being there with his equally adorable boyfriend, Adam Wilkas, meant more to him than winning a medal.
Gus and Adam sat down with NBC's Today to discuss their experience at the Games as openly gay athletes, and if you haven't already fallen in love with their funny dynamic, you will now. The two made it clear that being gay didn't change their goals as Olympians — they came there to win — but if being open could help others feel comfortable about their sexuality, then mission accomplished.
Before a slopestyle final, Gus shared a kiss with his boyfriend, and although he didn't know it was being filmed on TV, it meant a lot to him. "My boyfriend and I had a kiss at the bottom of the contest and people were like, 'We get it, we don't need to see it, though, I don't care what you do behind closed doors, but don't put it in my face,'" he said in the interview. "And it's kind of like, my entire life in movies, in commercials, in public, everywhere you see straight, heterosexual love, and that's completely fine because it's normal, but us also showing the same type of affection isn't shoving it in your face, it's just us existing."
Adam added, "It's just like the human experience."
My Seoul mate! He's a little late for Valentine's Day but he made it just in time to see me compete tomorrow (tonight for you guys in the states)! Feeling very lucky to have him, my family, my agent and some amazing friends here in Korea cheering me on. The past few days of practice have been pretty tough (I broke my thumb two days ago and yesterday got a massive hematoma on my hip that needed to be drained), but despite it all I'm still so excited to go out there and give it my all. Win or lose I'm gonna be walking away with my head held high! Thank you all for your words of encouragement and support, I wouldn't be here without you! #TeamUSA 🇺🇲🏳️🌈
When host Craig Melvin asked Adam if he was surprised to see Gus and his boyfriend's kiss, Gus happily answered for him, saying, "He was jealous."
While their openness was greeted with open arms and open hearts, both athletes hope that they can encourage other athletes who may be hiding their sexuality to feel comfortable enough to come out. "There are definitely athletes before us, athletes currently, and athletes that will be after us that are gay," Gus shared. "Hopefully people will see the reaction that we got, because I feel like we were so supported during the Games and had so much love and encouragement, that it will provide people the solace they need to want to come forward themselves."