The 30-year-old freestyle skier made history in 2015 when he became the first action sports star to come out as gay. Three years later at the 2018 Winter Olympics, Kenworthy memorably kissed his then-partner Matt Wilkas on live television before his qualifying run in the men’s slopestyle; which has since been lauded as a significant moment for the visibility of LGBTQ+ athletes.  “It was the visual representation of my games: getting to be one of the first openly gay athletes to compete at the Winter Olympics for the US,” he tells GAY TIMES. “That will always be quite high on my list of accomplishments – not necessarily the kiss itself, but the kiss is sort of a clean visual of how I felt during that games and what I got to experience there.” Now, Kenworthy is one of the world’s most high-profile LGBTQ+ athletes with 1.2 million Instagram followers.

He also boasts television credits such as RuPaul’s Drag Race, American Horror Story: 1984, Will & Grace and Coming Out Colton.

Kenworthy says being an openly gay athlete is a “privilege” that comes with certain responsibilities, and that he supports Tom Daley’s call to ban countries where people are persecuted for being LGBTQ+ from the Olympics – not just as a point of principle, but as a “catalyst for change”. “If the leaders want their country to be in the Olympics – and they want that sense of pride and prestige it brings – then they should have to change their policies first,” he says firmly.