With a casual kiss, Gus Kenworthy and boyfriend Matthew Wilkas showed how much progress he's made from Sochi to Pyeonchang, South Korea.
The athlete shared a kiss with his boyfriend during NBC's broadcast of the 2018 Winter Olympics, minutes before his qualifying run in men's slopestyle skiing.
Kenworthy revealed he originally planned to come out on live television at the Sochi Olympic games, where he won a silver medal, backtracking at the last minute, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
"I let him [Wilkas] fall into a little bit of an afterthought and I think it was a little bit selfish, but I just kind of kept the moment to myself," Kenworthy told NBC in January. "I think in a lot of ways it would have an amazing statement, but I also don't think I would have been ready at that point."
In 2014 at Sochi, Kenworthy had not yet told his parents or friends that he was gay. Kenworthy eventually came out publicly in a 2015 ESPN Magazine cover story after he had come out to his inner circle.
Seeing Kenworthy share the casual moment with his partner just before his Olympic run shows the growth the athlete has gone through in just four years.
The skier is one of three openly gay American athletes at the Pyeongchang Olympics, a list that also includes speedskater Brittany Bowe and figure skater Adam Rippon.
Twitter celebrated the televised kiss, with one user writing, "Gus Kenworthy, you're making so many LGBT Americans so very proud of you!!!" Another wrote, "That beautiful casual kiss between [Gus Kenworthy] and his boyfriend on [NBC Olympics] — I’m old enough to understand how significant that is."
Wow, what a moment! @guskenworthy shares a kiss with his boyfriend at #Olympics2018. This visibility matters. This moment of affection gives hope and inspiration to LGBTQ people everywhere. pic.twitter.com/FcDd8RcLdh— Athlete Ally (@AthleteAlly) February 18, 2018
Pretty cool that they not only showed Gus Kenworthy kiss his boyfriend, but acknowledge him as such. It shouldn't feel like a big deal and yet it does.— Scotty Ray (@ScottyRayJ) February 18, 2018
Earlier Kenworthy tweeted a message of gratitude to Wilkas and his family for being in Pyeonchang to support him the day of his competition.
"My Seoul mate! So happy to have my [boyfriend], 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," he tweeted.
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
Earlier Saturday, Kenworthy got some words of encouragement from megastar Britney Spears.
"So proud of Team USA!! Hey [Gus Kenworthy], gimme, gimme more on the slopes today!!" the pop superstar tweeted at the skier with the hashtag, "It's Gus, b—" she tweeted.
Kenworthy, a hug fan of Spears, responded with disbelief at the singer's message of support.
"Oh. My. God. Was really not prepared to wake up to this. Not sure how I'm gonna ski today because I'm LITERALLY dead now but I'm gonna go that extra mile for you, Britney! [I love you so much]!!!" Kenworthy replied.
Kenworthy, along with Nick Goepper, are both competing for the gold in the men's slopestyle finals.