Gus Kenworthy, Olympic skier who took shot at Mike Pence, switches from Team USA to Great Britain

Torrey Hart
Yahoo Sports Contributor
Former United States Olympian Gus Kenworthy now represents Great Britain. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Olympic silver medalist Gus Kenworthy, who grew up in Colorado and had represented the United States thus far in his career, officially represents Great Britain — where he has dual citizenship — as of Tuesday. Kenworthy’s agent said in November that he was considering the change.

Kenworthy told Sky Sports he wants to honor his British-born mother in his final Olympic Games.

“This is definitely going to be my last - my swansong if you will - and I just want to do it for my mum," he said. "She has been my number one supporter; she learned how to ski when I learned how to ski. She was 40 and I was three and it was this thing that we fell in love with together.”

As his competitive career comes to a close, Kenworthy — who came out as gay in 2015 and famously took a shot at Vice President Mike Pence ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics — also hopes he can inspire generations of LGBT athletes.

While he understands why it’s “scary” to come out, the 28-year-old said that doing so may have helped his athletic performance.

"It's not easy to come out - it's quite scary - and I think, because there is a lack of people that have done it, that makes it even more scary," he told Sky Sports. "But once you do come out and take that leap of faith, people will tell you that it's very liberating, that it's very freeing and usually you perform better.”

Kenworthy also discussed the societal barriers that exist and prevent gay athletes from getting involved in sports, from locker room dynamics to coaches’ “antics” that “make kids feel unsafe.”

"I definitely think that the biggest thing I can do for the younger generation is be a visible representative, especially for any young LGBT kids in the sport.”

After placing 12th in slopestyle at the 2018 Olympics, getting back on the podium in his final Games would not only put a nice cap on his career, but also could bring increased awareness to Kenworthy’s message.

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