Freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy has announced he is switching teams. Having represented the US in two former Winter Olympics, Kenworthy, 28, says he will switch to represent Great Britain from 2020.
His application to switch to GB Snowsport was approved Tuesday by the International Ski Federation.
This means he will likely compete to represent Britain in the 2022 Winter Olympics, which he expects will be his last.
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 lives in Los Angeles.
In an Instagram posting, Kenworthy said: “I am very excited to announce that I will be competing for Team GB on the road to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
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I am very excited to announce that I will be competing for Team GB on the road to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. 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. ????
“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.”
Kenworthy came out as gay in 2015. He is one of the most high-profile athletes in the US and has gone on further his career into acting, appearing in the most recent season of American Horror Story.
Related: Gus Kenworthy is back on the market, splits with boyfriend Matt Wilkas
His news has prompted a huge response from friends and fans.
Actor Johnny Sibilly (Pose), posted a response on Kenworthy’s Instagram saying, “Honor them roots baby!”. Actor Matthew Morrison (Glee) posted, “Happy to see you shred it in any capacity. So much respect for you, brother!”
Brit singer Sam Smith posted a crying and heart emoji at the news, while fellow GB athlete Tom Daley posted, “Oh. So we are team mates now 😏”
Many expressed pride and happiness for Kenworthy and applauded the gesture to his mom.
“What a beautiful way to honor her! You can never replace the special place a mother holds. She will be even more proud of you!”, said @mateogil.
However, a few disgruntled sports fans questioned his loyalties.
“I’m sorry but it’s a bit disrespectful,” commented @jpcon92. “E pluribus unum, we are second to no one. I come from Mexican parents, but will never love any other country more than America.”
Related: Gus Kenworthy strikes back at haters over Pride photo
Kenworthy won a silver medal for the US at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. In an interview with BBC Newsbeat, he denied that he was switching teams because he feared not being chosen by the US team to compete in 2022 in Beijing – but acknowledged it would probably be easier to qualify for Britain.
“I have no doubt in my mind that I could go back for the US but this is definitely going to be a much smoother approach for me,” he said.
“This gives me a path where I’m not taking a place away from one of my friends in the US.”
He told PA News agency: “I think this is going to be my last Games, kind of like my swansong, and I just wanted to do it for my mum.”
He says after representing the US in 2014, the 2018 Winter Olympics, “was actually less about representing the US as much as it was representing the LGBT community and it was the first time that the US had two openly gay men competing – Adam Ripon and I were those two guys.
“I was kind of skiing for the rainbow flag.
“This time around I feel like it’s my last games and I want to do it for my Mum, so in a way I feel like I’ve represented three different flags at three different games.”
Lol IE he ain’t good enough for the US team!
So easy for the unaccomplished to complain and criticize. Like you might ever reach his level of expertise in anything! (unless someone comes up with a “sad and bitter little man olympics”)
Soooo many athletes do this every damn cycle so I don’t know why people would be up in arms. I remember one winter Olympics the US almost didn’t have a ice dancing pair make it because the woman was from Canada. They had fast tracked her application to compete for the US and it literally went down to the last few days before the competition. In the end she got it and I think they ended up winning a medal.
This is something done outside the Olympics too. It’s not always about *not* being good enough to make your home country’s team. There are limited spots and a lot of times really good athletes don’t get picked for political (sport’s politics) reasons. Look at tennis. So many players represent countries they weren’t raised in and don’t live in. All my favorite players have rarely been from the US over the past decade or so. But I don’t feel compelled to root for the US players simply because I’m American.
The modern Olympics has always been a p!ssing contest between the nations and never about the individual athletes. A lot of people can tell you how many medals this or that country won during a particular Olympics but how many can tell you the names of the people who won them?
I get that his fan base may be upset because they’ve supported him throughout his career and to them it might feel like a betrayal. But that still seems odd because it hasn’t been America out there competing, it has been Gus.
Only the British would accept a tier two skier.
what a whore
Because he knew he wouldn’t be chosen by the US team.
I love how all these men (I assume, though they act like children) who have never achieved his level of accomplishment in any field, and never will, come here to cut him down.
And they are totally blind to how that reflects on them, and no one else.
You guys are pitiful.
Troll got a new handle.
Yes I agree, you got a bunch of ignorant and vicious queens that have and probably never will accomplish or achieve anything but being one vicious and sad person. So much of the gay community is not right in the head. They make comments and put others down. Ken is being supportive of his mother which makes him one amazing and loyal son. I am 100% behind someone who shows respect. You only get one mother people.
Congrats for honouring your mom! To all the ‘neverbeens’ trashing his decision – jealous much?
Well now it will be good to root against him go USA
I’m sure this move was just as talent-based as his casting in AHS.
If he has dual citizenship I don’t see a problem. There are a quite a few people who are born in a country who compete in the country of their parents. Hell in the current political situation I wouldn’t want to compete for the US and get hamburgers served as a congratulatory celebration.
COLD hamburgers at that.
Not unheard of, but is suspect. “High-profile athlete?” Really! Do appreciate his passion for rescue dogs.
Such hateful comments here to a guy who has done such good for us gays! But what can we expect from people with such a president..
Oh yes, to accept people as they are, and let them make their own choices without judging then or act like they are traitors to their beloved country. Shame on you brainless people!
Good for him. With this DF of a president we have right now, I wouldn’t want to waste my time and represent the U.S for anything.
He was doing okay until ,”This gives me a path where I’m not taking a place away from one of my friends in the US.” He’s trying to sound generous, but apparently it doesn’t bother him at all that he is taking a place away from some poor Brit who’s been working for it his whole life.
Born in Chelmsford eh? I did have a little chuckle over that. So he’s an Essex boy…
Congrats and wishing Gus the best of success in the coming Olympics trials.
Outside of the gay community he didn’t make much of a splash here. Very few people will even notice he has left.
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