Freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy has confirmed that he’s officially “taken”, and opened up further about his decision to switch to Team GB for the Beijing Winter Olympics.
The gay, silver-medal-winning Olympian keeps his personal life fairly private. However, last month, E! News revealed the identity of his partner.
Supporting Kenworthy on the slopes at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado in late January was Adam Umhoefer, a foundation executive at Creative Artists Agency. The men were snapped kissing and the pic was shared online.
According to a source, Kenworthy and Umhoefer (pronounced oomhayfur) have actually been an item for the past two years and live together in Los Angeles.
Now, in a new interview with GQ, ahead of the Winter Olympics, Kenworthy made mention of his “boyfriend” when asked if he planned to adopt any dogs in Beijing (he famously adopted several in Sochi in 2014).
“My boyfriend’s like, ‘We’re not bringing a dog back’. And I was like, ‘No, we definitely are’. And he’s like, ‘We really are not’. We’ll see.”
In a video shot to accompany the magazine interview, Kenworthy also answered some questions about himself that he found online.
At the 4.35 mark, he answers a question about his relationship status when shown a photo of him with Lil Nax X, and says, “I am taken. I have a boyfriend. Unfortunately, it’s not Lil Nas X. Sorry to my boyfriend! But yeah, taken.”
He did not name Umhoefer.
In the piece in GQ, Kenworthy talked at length about his decision to switch from Team USA to Team GB for his third and final Olympics.
Kenworthy was born in Chelmsford, England. His family relocated to Colorado in the US when he was three. His mother is British and he holds a British passport. When he announced in 2019 that he was switching sides, he said it was in honor of his mom.
Others speculated that he also had a far greater chance of being chosen for Team GB as the country has fewer world-class skiers. He will be representing Britain in the Men’s Freeski Halfpipe in China.
Kenworthy told GQ he’d been thinking about it since 2014, revealing he’d never really got over losing a particular spot at the 2014 games in Sochi.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to make … I have dual citizenship. I was born in Britain, and there was definitely a conversation around it [in 2014], based purely on the fact that there’s a little bit of strategy. It’s the same criteria to qualify for any country, and you have to hit certain milestones. But if you’re in a country that’s really, really stacked in a specific sport, it’s much more competitive.
“I was like, I feel like I am American. I live in the States. After weighing it, I thought it was still the right decision to go for the US. It was announced that I was on the team for slopestyle and half-pipe. Then, just before the games, they took my half-pipe spot from me and gave it to another skier, Torin Yater-Wallace, and said that it was the coach’s discretion. I didn’t really realize that they could just do that, but that was something that I kind of have never got over.
“It’s the Olympics, and I worked very hard for all those years, and then worked really hard during that qualifying process and earned the spot and had the two podiums and did everything that I was supposedly needing to do. And was one of the top four guys in the US. And then the spot just got taken from me anyway.
“So that really upset me. And I like Torin, he’s a friend. It also was difficult because I wanted him to go to the games too, and I was happy for him, but it was really sad for me.”
Kenworthy went on to say that after 2018, he thought he had little chance of competing again for the US and felt “overlooked”. He felt US sporting authorities had been unaccommodating of him wanting to train for both the half-pipe and slopestyle categories. Kenworthy took a year off to consider his options, and decided “there’s more in the tank.”
That was when he reconsidered which country he represented.
“If I did it for Great Britain, I could have this beautiful thing for my mother. She’s been my number one fan, and she’s stood by me this whole time … And it also will allow me to qualify and not be in this position where two months before the games, I’m scrambling to earn my spot against a bunch of the other best guys in the world. And I could bring more interest, hopefully to Britain for the sport that they’re not really known for, and bring more funding to the British team. Hopefully, it creates a trickle-down effect where it just helps build the sport up in the UK.”
He says being denied the half-pipe place for the US in 2014 still irked him, especially as he was told in a blunt, cut-and-dry manner.
“I think that they didn’t take into consideration that I’m a human being and I’m an athlete, and I earned the spot and I spent my whole life basically to get that spot. 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 said he was aware of the criticism about his decision to switch sides.
“I’ve had a lot of flak … which I don’t feel like is fair. I literally am a dual citizen. So I am equally as British as I am American.”
The Men’s Freeski Halfpipe at the Winter Olympics runs February 17-19, with the qualifying runs on February 17 at 12.30 and 13.21 Beijing time.