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Gus Kenworthy opens up about recent health problems, appeals for help


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Gus Kenworthy has revealed that he’s experiencing ongoing health issues, including the long-term effects of Covid. It’s the reason he had to pull out of a contest in Colorado last week and has left him worried about his Olympic hopes. The Winter Games are due to take place in Beijing, China, in a couple of months.

Posting to Instagram, freestyle skier Kenworthy, 30, explained what’s been going on.

“Six weeks ago I got a pretty bad concussion while at a training camp in Switzerland. 🤕 Because I’ve had a few serious TBI’s (traumatic brain injuries) in recent years the seriousness of each added concussion has been stressed to me.

“I took two full weeks off and followed all of the SafeSport steps to return to snow. However only two days after getting back on skis I started feeling really sick: fever, chills, etc. I took a COVID test and to my surprise it was positive. Despite being fully vaccinated I had caught a breakthrough case.

“I checked into a hotel and did a 10-day self-isolated quarantine until I tested negative and was cleared to fly home.

“Unfortunately, in the weeks since, I’ve had some ongoing issues with my head. Any time I’ve tried to workout or gotten my heart rate up I’ve become very light-headed, disoriented and nauseous. I was worried it had to do with the concussion but I’ve consulted with specialists and because I had previously passed all the tests and was cleared to return to sport we think it’s more likely residual effects of COVID.

“I showed up in Copper last week for the first World Cup of the season and after the warm-up before the elimination round I once again felt dizzy and disoriented. I was just discussing what to do with my coach, @justin_dorey, when the starter called my name and said the judges were ready for me. I dropped in but felt completely lost in the air during the first trick in my run – the skiing equivalent to the “twisties”.

An athletics term for when a gymnast suffers a mental block during a performance, Simone Biles said she experienced the “twisties” when she felt forced to pull out of the Olympics last summer.

Related: Gus Kenworthy makes a splash on Greek vacation … and is that a new boyfriend?

“We decided to withdraw me from the event foregoing my second run or a chance in finals,” Kenworthy continued. “I have another competition coming up this week, the @dewtour [Dew Tour], but it’s still TBD whether I’ll be able to compete or in what capacity.

“With the Olympics less than two months away I’m incredibly frustrated but trying to stay positive and hopeful that this will pass. 🤞🏼Not sure what else I can do but wait. 🤷🏼‍♀️ Anyway, just wanted to keep y’all in the loop.

“Thanks in advance for the well wishes and if any of you have had experience with long COVID and have recommendations for things that have helped please let me know! Appreciate it. 🙏🏼”

Kenworthy represented the USA in the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics. He won a silver medal at the 2014 event and came out as gay the following year. In 2019, he announced he was switching to Team GB for what he anticipated might be his final Olympics in 2022.

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.

He explained at the time, “Although I was raised in the US I was born in the UK and my mum is British through-and-through. She has been my #1 fan for my entire life and has proudly stood at the bottom of the mountain waving the stars and stripes in support of me for two Olympic cycles.

“Now, in what is sure to be my last Olympic appearance, I’d like to return the honor by proudly holding up the British flag for her.”

Related: Gus Kenworthy switches from team US to Great Britain for 2022 Olympics