Winter Olympics 2018: US skier Gus Kenworthy shared a kiss with his boyfriend on TV to the support of viewers

Chelsea Ritschel
The Independent
Olympian Gus Kenworthy shared a kiss with his boyfriend on TV (Getty)
Olympian Gus Kenworthy shared a kiss with his boyfriend on TV (Getty)

In between displays of incredible sportsmanship and death-defying stunts, NBC’s cameras captured one tender moment - a kiss shared between Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy and his boyfriend Matthew Wilkas before the ski slopestyle qualifying.

As one of two openly-gay US Olympians, the significance of the kiss, which was broadcast on primetime network television, was not lost on viewers at home - who praised the display of affection.

And while British-born Kenworthy ended up placing last out of 12 finalists after ultimately failing to land any of his runs, the kiss captured between him and his boyfriend made the games significant for the skier, and for LGBT viewers and allies.

When Kenworthy competed during the Sochi games four years ago, where he received a silver medal, he had not yet declared his sexuality. But at the time, he considered kissing his boyfriend at the bottom of the slope, before ultimately deciding against it.

Speaking of the kiss in PyeongChang, Kenworthy said afterwards: “I didn’t even know that that was a televised moment at all, but I think that’s amazing. That’s something that I wanted at the last Olympics was to share a kiss with my boyfriend at the bottom and it was something that I was too scared to do for myself.

“And so to be able to do that, to give him a kiss, to have that affection broadcasted for the world is incredible,” the skier continued.

Kenworthy then said: “I think that the only way to really change perceptions, break down homophobia, break down barriers is through representation. That’s definitely not something I had as a kid. I definitely didn’t see a gay athlete at the Olympics kissing their boyfriend and I think that if I had it would have made it a lot easier for me, so hopefully, it did that for other people.”

And others agree - with thousands of people sharing their support for the Olympian on social media.

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