The Guardian reports:
When the American freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy shared a kiss with boyfriend Matthew Wilkas at the bottom of the hill before Sunday morning’s ski slopestyle qualifying, neither was immediately aware the moment was captured by NBC’s cameras.
But the significance of an openly gay male athlete kissing another man on primetime network television during one of the world’s biggest collective experiences was not lost on the Saturday night audience back home in the United States where it quickly went viral and was feted by LGBT activists as a marker of progress amid the broadcaster’s much-criticized handling of gay athletes.
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.”
The Associated Press reports:
Kenworthy kept the world updated on injuries — a broken thumb and a nasty hematoma on his hip, each of which would ultimately hamper him come Sunday. “The hematoma’s much more painful than the thumb,” Kenworthy said. “I made it to the finals. I thought maybe I’d be able to put another run down. But I don’t know. It’s all good.”
He simply could not string all the tricks together. On his third and final trip down the course, after he veered off-line on the landing of the second-to-last jump, he simply skied to the side of the final ramp and took the easy way down, knowing his hopes for a second Olympic medal were gone. He finished 12th of the 12 skiers in the final.
My Seoul mate! So happy to have my bf, my family and some amazing friends here in Korea to cheer me on! Tomorrow’s the big day (tonight for y’all in the US) and win or lose I just wanna thank you all SO much for your support and encouragement. I wouldn’t be here without you. pic.twitter.com/XwqWKldwbN
— Gus Kenworthy (@guskenworthy) February 17, 2018
Gus Kenworthy’s superfan section might be the best of all of this year’s Olympians. His family and boyfriend carried giant rainbow flags to cheer him on during his event. 🏳️🌈🇺🇸❤️(P.S. hi @tyleroakley) pic.twitter.com/pZfdzrT4Zl
— them. (@them) February 18, 2018
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) February 18, 2018
Gus Kenworthy’s boyfriend understands he is part of something much bigger than a sporting event https://t.co/F5v7l7TOnC
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 18, 2018