Home Feamil Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy reveals that he struggled with depression before he...

Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy reveals that he struggled with depression before he came out


Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy has opened up about struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts before he came out publicly as gay, admitting that ‘hiding a huge part’ of himself ‘really took a toll’ on his mental health.

The British-American 29-year-old, who won silver for the US at the 2014 Winter Olympics in 2014, spoke candidly about mental health and being a gay professional athlete in a new interview with US Women’s Soccer star Megan Rapinoe for Abercrombie & Fitch’s new IGTV series.

‘It’s exhausting being in the closet,’ said Kenworthy, who has represented Great Britain since last year. ‘There was so much time and energy put into harboring that secret that I think it really took a toll on my mental health and I struggled with depression and at moments in my life, thoughts of suicide.’

Scroll down for video 

Candid: Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy has opened up about struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts before he came out publicly as gay

Candid: Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy has opened up about struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts before he came out publicly as gay

'It's exhausting being in the closet,' said the British-American 29-year-old, who won silver for the US at the 2014 Winter Olympics in 2014

‘It’s exhausting being in the closet,’ said the British-American 29-year-old, who won silver for the US at the 2014 Winter Olympics in 2014

‘I think for a lot of my career and my coming up in the sport, my mental health was kind of put on the back burner, and I feel like I was really compartmentalizing. I was not out of the closet. So I was hiding a huge part of myself and my life,’ Kenworthy said.

‘And I really just had a hard, hard time being proud of myself and coming to terms with myself and accepting myself.’

He added that it’s ‘exhausting’ and ‘takes a lot of energy’ to hide being gay.

‘If you’re in the start gate at a competition, and you hear someone be like, “Oh my God, these judges are being so gay right now,” and you’re like, “OK, well, that’s actually not what they’re being at all.” But it takes you out of the moment.

‘And it takes so much energy to put that aside and stay focused,’ he went on.

‘It’s exhausting being in the closet and I can completely understand the fear and paranoia, whether it’s because you’re from a religious family, or you’re in a really small conservative town, or you’re in sports or an industry that doesn’t necessarily lend itself to being gay and having it not be taboo.’

In a 2015 interview with ESPN, nearly two years after he took home silver in the men’s slopestyle at Sochi, Kenworthy publicly came out. 

'I think for a lot of my career and my coming up in the sport, my mental health was kind of put on the back burner, and I feel like I was really compartmentalizing,' he said

‘I think for a lot of my career and my coming up in the sport, my mental health was kind of put on the back burner, and I feel like I was really compartmentalizing,’ he said

Kenworthy sat down with Megan Rapinoe for an IGTV interview

'I really just had a hard, hard time being proud of myself and coming to terms with myself and accepting myself,' he said

‘I really just had a hard, hard time being proud of myself and coming to terms with myself and accepting myself,’ he told Megan Rapinoe in an IGTV interview

'When I did take that stand and come out it was the best thing I could have ever done for my mental health,' he said

‘When I did take that stand and come out it was the best thing I could have ever done for my mental health,’ he said

He says now it was the ‘best’ decision for his well-being.

‘When I did take that stand and come out it was the best thing I could have ever done for my mental health,’ he said. ‘I thought it was gonna be, like, a thing that maybe it was a hindrance for my sport, and it was the exact opposite.

‘My following year after coming out was my best season to date. I felt so liberated, I had a huge weight off my shoulders. 

‘And just being able to ski openly and honestly, and authentically, and sharing my whole self with my competitors and the judges and the audience, it really did make a huge, huge difference.

‘It’s unbelievable how much lighter I felt after coming out,’ he went on. 

‘When I was in the closet, and I was at training camps when I was a kid, I would make sure I was the last person to fall asleep because I was scared I was gonna fall asleep and out myself in my sleep, ’cause I talk in my sleep.

‘So then for me to finally be out and not have to worry about all these different things and [to] feel proud of who I was, it was so liberating. It was just the hugest weight off.

'It's unbelievable how much lighter I felt after coming out,' he told Rapinoe

He also reflected on keeping his secret when he was a kid

‘It’s unbelievable how much lighter I felt after coming out,’ he went on

'My following year after coming out was my best season to date. I felt so liberated, I had a huge weight off my shoulders,' he said (pictured before coming out at Sochi in 2014)

‘My following year after coming out was my best season to date. I felt so liberated, I had a huge weight off my shoulders,’ he said (pictured before coming out at Sochi in 2014)

Though right now he sees how important it can be for professional athletes to come out to make closeted people — especially kids and teens — feel less like outsiders, he hopes that society gets to a point where people don’t have to come out at all.

Kenworthy also spoke more broadly about the importance of mental health.

‘I think that mental health is so important and I’m so glad that it’s something that is getting talked about more and more frequently now because it’s so important for everybody,’ he said.

‘It’s especially important for LGBTQ kids who are at a much higher risk of self harm, just because they do struggle to come to terms with themselves, ourselves, and the rate of suicide is so much higher. 

The interview is the first in a new series by Abercrombie & Fitch called ‘A&F Conversations x Megan Rapinoe’ in which Rapinoe interview her fellow fellow Fierce Family ambassadors with the brand.

The six-episode series will also include interviews with model and trans rights activist, Leyna Bloom  Paralympian and activist Scout Basset, former NFL player and poet Ryan Russell, Compton Cowboys founding member Randy Savvy, model/singer/actor and LGBTQ activist Laith Ashley, and influencer and self-love advocate Halle Hathaway.  

More to come: The interview is the first in a new series by Abercrombie & Fitch called 'A&F Conversations x Megan Rapinoe' in which Rapinoe interviews her fellow fellow Fierce Family ambassadors with the brand

More to come: The interview is the first in a new series by Abercrombie & Fitch called ‘A&F Conversations x Megan Rapinoe’ in which Rapinoe interviews her fellow fellow Fierce Family ambassadors with the brand

A&F model: Earlier this year, Rapinoe also starred in Abercrombie & Fitch's inclusive 'Face Your Fierce' campaign

A&F model: Earlier this year, Rapinoe also starred in Abercrombie & Fitch’s inclusive ‘Face Your Fierce’ campaign 

Something new: : The 35-year-old said she was excited to be asked to join the campaign.

Something new: : The 35-year-old said she was excited to be asked to join the campaign.

Discussions will cover topics like social justice, intersectionality, racial identity, trans rights, self-love, body acceptance, overcoming adversity, and disability representation.

Earlier this year, Rapinoe also starred in Abercrombie & Fitch’s inclusive ‘Face Your Fierce’ campaign.

The soccer hero told People she was excited to be asked to join the campaign. 

‘I jumped at it right away. I mean, what a cool opportunity to be part of a big brand and a big national campaign with the lineup that they have. My high school self is like, “Oh my God, this is insane.”

‘It’s cool also to be able to get out of the sports world. I always jump at the opportunities to do something different and challenge myself and sort of get myself in a different realm. So this is exciting for me. 

‘We didn’t even have an Abercrombie store in my town [growing up] — we had to go to a mall in a bigger town. It totally brings me back to my younger days.’

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Must Read

Princess Diana's body language 'strong and determined' during 'brave' unearthed interview

Looking at her body language, the expert claimed the Princess of Wales answered questions honestly and with confidence.She stated: "Her responses are forensic...

Netflix stock plunges 7% after streaming giant revealed dramatic slowdown in new subscribers

Netflix stock is trading sharply lower after the streaming giant reported a slowdown in new subscribers over the summer, after a huge surge...

Accused child rapist, 34, flees hospital after doctors found out girl, 11, he brought in is pregnant

'Child rapist', 34, flees hospital after doctors discover 11-year-old girl is...

The Bachelorette vet Emily Maynard reveals her newborn daughter's sweet name

The Bachelorette vet Emily Maynard has named her newborn daughter Magnolia Belle Johnson. 'Welcome to the world Magnolia Belle Johnson,' Emily, 34, announced on...

Volunteer in AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine trial dies in Brazil

BREAKING NEWS: Volunteer in AstraZeneca and Oxford's coronavirus vaccine trial dies...