Gus Kenworthy and his boyfriend Matthew Wilkas were caught candidly kissing by cameras during a broadcast of a qualifying run at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. This was the first time a gay kiss involving an Olympian was televised.
Kenworthy, who placed 12th in his final run, didn’t realize his kiss with his boyfriend was going to be broadcast around the world but explained that it was monumental for him. According to Kenworthy, he had wanted to kiss his boyfriend during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics but didn’t because he was closeted.
“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,” Kenworthy says. “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.”
He also brought up the moment on his Instagram posting that he “would never have dreamed” to see a gay kiss televised at the Olympics.
“Kiss Kiss Bish! Didn’t realize this moment was being filmed yesterday but I’m so happy that it was. My childhood self would never have dreamed of seeing a gay kiss on TV at the Olympics but for the first time ever a kid watching at home CAN! Love is love is love,” Kenworthy captioned a screenshot of the smooch.
Kiss Kiss Bish! Didn't realize this moment was being filmed yesterday but I'm so happy that it was. My childhood self would never have dreamed of seeing a gay kiss on TV at the Olympics but for the first time ever a kid watching at home CAN! Love is love is love. Also, shouts to @rightordoyle for being the third wheel of the century. Love you boo!
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— Mariah Cooper, Washington Blade courtesy of the National LGBTQ Media Association.