Sunday, February 18, 2018

Gus Kenworthy Makes Another Kind of Olympic History; Adam Rippon Gets Hired by NBC -- UPDATE

Damian and I were crestfallen when Gus Kenworthy qualified for the slopestyle -- top 5 on his first run! -- only to wipe out on both final runs -- he was SO CLOSE on the first one! -- and land in (literally) last place. But no sooner had it looked like his 2018 Olympic experience was a bit of a bust, we learned that a routine kiss from boyfriend Matthew Wilkas before he began his run was captured on live television.

Sports Illustrated reports:
When Matthew Wilkas, the boyfriend of American slopestyle skier Gus Kenworthy, saw on Twitter a sceenshot of he and Kenworthy sharing a kiss before Kenworthy’s qualifying run on Sunday at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, he didn’t think the moment was a very big deal. “That was like a peck,” Wilkas tells TIME with a laugh from the bottom of the slopestyle course at the Phoenix Snow Park. “We should have made out in front of people.”  
But taking a moment to think about it, Wilkas realized that yes, he was probably part of something historic: a kiss between a gay athlete and his boyfriend at a mass audience spectacle like the Olympics, shown during network primetime television.  
“It’s unusual, right?” says Wilkas, an actor. “It’s good that it’s televised because it normalizes it more. I would imagine it would be a huge moment for a young gay kid to see an awesome athlete so open and proud of himself and not caring what anyone thinks of his sexuality.”
Outsports reminds us that in 2014, when he competed at the Sochi Olympics, Kenworthy was closeted and had to keep his then-boyfriend a secret. It was something Kenworthy later said made him feel like a “coward.” Now, four years later and totally out as an openly gay athlete, Kenworthy was proudly announcing that his boyfriend is in Pyeongyang cheering him.

In a sign of change from NBC in dealing with gay athletes, the network showed the couple kissing (and rainbow flags in Gus’s posse waving) before Kenworthy competed and the commentators referred to Wilkas as Kenworthy’s boyfriend.

“It’s something I was too scared to do for myself,” Kenworthy said after his competition. “To be able to do that, to give him a kiss, to have that affection broadcast to the world, is incredible. The only way to really change perceptions, to break down barriers, break down homophobia, is through representation. That’s definitely not something I had as a kid. I never saw a gay athlete kissing their boyfriend at the Olympics. I think if I had, it would’ve made it easier for me.”

While his non-kissing performance may have been disappointing, Kenworthy was circumspect about it all.
“If you look at me, I’m bummed but I’m not sulking, I’m not crying,” he said, adding, “Being out at these Games has kind of meant the world to me, just getting to really be myself and be authentic. And I think landing a run in the final and getting on the podium obviously would have been icing on the cake, but even though it didn’t happen for me I still had a wonderful Olympic experience.”
There's no doubt that any queer child watching this year's Winter Olympics with Eric Radford, Adam Rippon and Kenworthy's out-and-proud performances -- hell, any queer person -- isn't feeling a bit better about their place in the world right now. xo

And on that note, America's Sweetheart Adam Rippon has been hired by NBC as a correspondent for remainder of 2018 Winter Olympics. Now tell me that's not going to boost otherwise-lagging ratings!

UPDATE: It looks like Rippon won't be working for NBC after all -- he had second thoughts when he found out he would have to give up his Olympic standing and credential for the position. By joining NBC as a correspondent, he wouldn’t be allowed to participate in the closing ceremony. He did, however, give a hilarious interview Sunday night (ET) in which he showed viewers what they would be missing. Speaking -- and shamelessly flirting -- with dreamy NBCSN anchor Liam McHugh, Rippon took some viewer questions submitted via Twitter, Rippon claimed that to "deal with a pit stain," he wears "a thin mesh shirt," said that he gets his eyebrows dyed and declared that "there's no such thing as a wardrobe malfunction, only a wardrobe opportunity."


jaragon said...

It would have been nice for Gus to get a medal but his out and proud performance at the Olympics qualifies him for the Great Gay Men Hall of Fame

macguffin Fifty four said...

I believe Adam turned down NBC. Or so Deadline is reporting.

jaragon said...

Yes Adam would rather stay with his team mates that work for NBC

jo gerardo said...

Australian diver Matthew Mitchum scaled the grandstand to hug his family and kiss his boyfriend after his award ceremony at the Beijing Olympics. I don't think the video was shown in the States.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin