Hig Roberts Came Out to 'Be Happy' - Now He Is

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday January 19, 2021

Elite Alpine skier Hig Roberts came out last month, saying he was "ready to be happy." In a new interview, Roberts indicated that he is indeed happy now... and he's been overwhelmed with love and support from fans, friends, and other athletes.

"It's been an incredible journey thus far, and more than that I feel I'm breathing again," Robert told the sports-themed podcast Five Rings to Rule Them All.

Saying that his life now "feels gentler and easier than it has in a long time," Roberts added that since embracing authenticity he now feels "very lucky and blessed to have people supporting me and wanting to hear more of my story and discuss this with me."

"It was pretty overwhelming," the 29-year-old added, speaking about how The New York Times ran a story about his coming out. Saying he had put his phone on silent and slept late on the Sunday when the Times ran the story, Robert said, he was reminded as soon as he got up: "Oh yeah, this happened."

Noting that Roberts is "first male international alpine ski competitor to come out publicly," LGBTQ sports news site Outsports, which hosts the Five Rings to Rule Them All podcast, reports that the pro skier intends to "help everyone else in skiing find ways to improve the environment in the sport for gay athletes."

It was the lack of role models in terms of out gay athletes in his field that was a major part of the reason Roberts stayed in the closet for so long, the Outsports article noted.

Roberts was fine from a young age with who he was as a person, but then, he told the podcast, "as I started climbing the ranks I didn't see anyone or hear of anyone who was thinking the same way I was. And that's what lead me into this illusion that my brain was playing a trick on me because how could this be possible?"

Roberts revealed that he'd almost come out years earlier. "There was a point when I was 23, 24, when I really was ready to do it," he said. But then, "my little brother passed away, and that changed everything." After that, he said, "I found myself coming back to the sport and feeling very closeted with my feelings of grief and pain and tragedy."

"I felt very on the outside already, so I just did not know how to add this on top of it."

Now that Roberts has blazed a new trail, he's found himself accepted all the way. "I can't even count on one hand negativity from people that I know."

Rather, he said, people have let him know "how important this narrative is within not just the ski space... but also just in sports in general. It's a narrative that needs to be told."

"Moving forward, this is something all of us are going to do together to make life easier for people like me."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.