Gus Kenworthy Switches Teams, Will Not Represent the US at 2020 Olympics

Wednesday December 4, 2019

Gus Kenworthy will be competing in the 2020 Beijing Winter Games but not for America. Instead, he'll be representing Great Britain.

At the 2014 Winter Games, the athlete took home a silver medal for the slopestyle competition for the U.S. but the freestyle skier will now compete for Great Britain as part of GB Snowsport.

"This is a great opportunity for me to start again and compete in three events in 2022. I have strong roots in the UK and have been close with many of the athletes. For me, this is an incredible opportunity to join a first-class team and I believe we will be able to deliver great results," Kenworthy said in a statement.

The International Ski Federation approved the change after Kenworthy, who was born in Chelmsford, Essex and holds a U.K. passport, requested his release from the U.S. Ski and Snowboard.

"I am also doing this for my mother who was born and lived in the UK for much of her life, she has always been my greatest supporter throughout my career," the openly gay athlete said. "She taught me to ski when I was three years old and is the reason I compete today. It's great to now be representing GB — a country which means so much to me and my family."

Speaking with NBC Sports, Kenworthy added that he also switched teams because it allowed him to take "a path of less resistance."

"This gives me an advantage in terms of qualifying and having less to worry about, less people I'm up against, just being able to focus on the tricks that I want to be working on, the runs that I want to do, put me in the best position to hopefully get another medal and not have to kill my body trying to qualify in multiple disciplines right before the Games against the U.S. guys," the "American Horror Story" actor said.

Taking to Instagram, Kenworthy shared news of his switch and added a lengthy caption to his post, writing that the 2020 Winter Games will likely be the last time he competes.

"I am very excited to announce that I will be competing for Team GB on the road to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Although I was raised in the US I was born in the UK and my mum is British through-and-through," he wrote. "She has been my #1 fan for my entire life and has proudly stood at the bottom of the mountain waving the stars and stripes in support of me for two Olympic cycles.

"Now, in what is sure to be my last Olympic appearance, I'd like to return the honor by proudly holding up the British flag for her," Kenworthy added.

He previously competed at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. Kenworthy made headlines in 2015 when he came out as gay.

[H/T People magazine