US OLYMPIC MEDAL SKIER TO JOIN GB TEAM
3rd December 2019 | Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Last modified on January 24th, 2020
Gus Kenworthy is a Winter Olympics, X Games, World Championships and World Cup medallist. He joins the GB team with immediate effect.
It’s the latest and biggest coup for GB Snowsport, which has poached other athletes from France and Australia.
Gus Kenworthy is the first from the USA.
He is a huge name in the world of Park & Pipe.
He won silver in ski slopestyle at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
He won silver in ski slopestyle at the 2017 World Freestyle Championships.
He has several World Cup podiums, including two victories.
He has five X Games medals.
He has recently had some time away from the sport, taking on acting and modelling roles and getting involved in charity fundraising.
Now he wants to return to serious competition in all three Park & Pipe Olympic ski events: halfpipe, slopestyle and big air.
His goal is to qualify for Beijing 2022 in them all.
It will be his third Winter Olympics but the first representing the country of his birth.
The 28-year-old was born in Chelmsford in Essex and has a British-born mother.
He holds a UK passport.
“This is a great opportunity for me to start again and compete in three events in 2022,” he said.
“I have strong roots in the UK and have been close with many of the athletes.
“For me, this is an incredible opportunity to join a first-class team and I believe we will be able to deliver great results.
“I am also doing this for my mother who was born and lived in the UK for much of her life. She has always been my greatest supporter throughout my career.
“She taught me to ski when I was three years old and is the reason I compete today. It’s great to now be representing GB – a country which means so much to me and my family.
“During my downtime, it was important for me to take a step back and contemplate my next move and now that is resolved I am looking forward to training and getting in condition for the upcoming season.”
Kenworthy has a high-profile in America where he has lived since he was two.
In 2015, at the age of 24, he became the first action sports athlete to come out as gay.
He received huge support and he has since become a gay role model.
Earlier this year he took on an acting role in the US Series American Horror Story and was given a guest spot in the final series of Will & Grace.
He has also modelled for Ralph Lauren.
After an injury-affected Olympics at Pyeongchang in 2018, where he finished a disappointing12th in slopestyle, Kenworthy did not compete for almost a year.
He did only a couple of competitions last winter.
Watch Gus Kenworthy in a warm up run for a World Cup comp in Switzerland in March 2019
He approached GB Snowsport to make the switch and has convinced the powers-that-be that he’s serious about returning to the top of his sport.
According to GB Snowsport, during discussions with him and his team, he personally demonstrated his ambition and desire to compete at the highest possible level to earn a place at Beijing 2022.
“When a world-renowned athlete like Gus makes himself available to compete for GB Snowsport it is really exciting, but we wanted assurances around Gus’ desire as his life outside snowsport has become much busier,” Vicky Gosling, Chief Executive Officer of GB Snowsport, said.
“We have met with Gus numerous times and found that we are completely on the same page.
“Gus understands that we have an incredibly talented squad and that means places are competitive.
“It is incredibly exciting to have him in our ranks and I think it goes to show the level that GB Snowsport has reached in a short space of time.
“The inclusion of Gus in our squad can only raise our level of performance and make us even more competitive.”
There is little doubt that Kenworthy will have an easier path to qualification for Beijing 2022 in all three events from within the GB set-up than he would have done in the much bigger and more competitive US team.
He will return to training this month and will be working with the GB Snowsport high-performance team.
He is aiming to compete in the X Games in Aspen, Colorado, in January.
Kenworthy’s new team mates have been welcoming him into the fold.
GB’s top male slopestyle and big air skier, James ‘Woodsy’ Woods said: “Respect to you @guskenworthy! Most raw talent out there you, it’ll be an honour to shred with you again! ðŸ‘Š”
Another skier in GB Park & Pipe Squad Tyler Jay Harding said: “Welcome brother â¤ï¸”
While former US team mate Shaun White, the triple Olympic snowboard halfpipe champion said simply: “Let’s trade pins ”
There are many more comments on Kenworthy’s Instagram post.
View this post on Instagram
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. ♥ï¸ðŸ‡¬ðŸ‡§
News of Kenworthy’s move from the US team to GB comes less than a week after it was announced that the 19-year-old snowboard cross athlete Bryn Nicholas had changed allegiances from Australia to Britain.
Just over a year ago one of the world’s top Snowboard Cross racers Charlotte Bankes moved over to GB Snowsport after representing France.
GB Snowsport believes it is on course to reach its ambition of becoming a top 5 Olympic and Paralympic nation across all snowsport disciplines by 2030.
GUS KENWORTHY CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
- Two-time Olympian (2014, 2018)
- PyeongChang 2018, 12th (slopestyle)
- Sochi 2014, silver medallist (slopestyle)
- 2017 FIS World Cup Standings, 10th (halfpipe)
- 2016 X Games Aspen, 2nd (superpipe & slopestyle)
- 2016 FIS World Cup Standings, 8th (halfpipe)
- 2016 X Games Oslo, 3rd (superpipe & big air)
- 2015 FIS World Cup Standings, 2nd (halfpipe), 8th (slopestyle)
- 2014 FIS World Cup Standings, 8th (slopestyle)
- 2013 X Games Tignes, 3rd (slopestyle)
- 2013 FIS World Cup Standings, 7th (halfpipe)