GB Snowsport have announced that Olympic silver medallist Gus Kenworthy has switched allegiance from the United States Ski and Snowboard Team to GB Snowsport, with immediate effect.
This is a huge move for the freestyle skier, who has previously competed at two Olympic Games (Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018) for the United States. Now, he will be targeting the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China, as part of Team GB.
Kenworthy was born in Chelmsford, Essex to a British mother and holds a UK Passport, allowing him to qualify to represent the nation.
GB Snowsport will no doubt be excited to add an athlete of Kenworthy’s talent and experience to an extremely promising GB team, which has already produced Olympic medallists and World Champions as well as growing a talented pool of upcoming young athletes.
Kenworthy competes in Halfpipe, Slopestyle and Big Air disciplines. In 2014, he took the silver medal in the Winter Olympics’ first ever ski slopestyle event in Sochi, and has since added four X Games medals, as well as a World Championships silver, to his achievements.
Throwback to the run that got me a silver medal in Sochi in 2014. I'm about to board my flight to South Korea for the 2018 Games and I'm giddy with excitement about whatever is waiting around the corner for me. Win or lose I'm very proud to be representing these flags 🇺🇲🏳️🌈!!! Thank you all for the support and encouragement!!!
Posted by Gus Kenworthy on Tuesday, 6 February 2018
Kenworthy told BBC Newsbeat that his decision was not a result of worries about getting a spot with the USA at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
“I have no doubt in my mind that I could go back for the US but this is definitely going to be a much smoother approach for me,” he told the BBC. “This gives me a path where I’m not taking a place away from one of my friends in the US.”
He is reported to have requested his release from US Ski and Snowboard earlier this month and is now targeting success with Team GB.
Kenworthy said: “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.
‘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. 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.
‘During my downtime, it was important for me to take a step back and contemplate my next move and now that is resolved I am looking forward to training and getting in condition for the upcoming season.”
However, GB Snowsport are clear that Gus remains 100% committed to snowsport in the lead up to the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Vicky Gosling, Chief Executive Officer of GB Snowsport said: “When a world-renowned athlete like Gus makes himself available to compete for GB Snowsport it is really exciting, but we wanted assurances around Gus’ desire as his life outside snowsport has become much busier.
‘We have met with Gus numerous times and found that we are completely on the same page. Gus understands that we have an incredibly talented squad and that means places are competitive.
‘It is exciting to have him in our ranks and I think it goes to show the level that GB Snowsport has reached in a short space of time. The inclusion of Gus in our squad can only raise our level of performance and make us even more competitive.”
Kenworthy – the AFP World Champion in 2011,’12 and ‘13 – will return to training this month (December) and aims to compete in the X Games in Aspen in January. Gus will immediately start working closely with the GB Snowsport high-performance team.
Gus Kenworthy’s Additional Career Highlights:
- 2017 FIS World Cup Standings, 10th (halfpipe)
- 2016 X Games Aspen, 2nd (superpipe, slopestyle)
- 2016 FIS World Cup Standings, 8th (halfpipe)
- 2016 X Games Oslo, 3rd (superpipe, big air)
- 2015 FIS World Cup Standings, 2nd (halfpipe), 8th (slopestyle)
- 2014 FIS World Cup Standings, 8th (slopestyle)
- 2013 X Games Tignes, 3rd (slopestyle)
- 2013 FIS World Cup Standings, 7th (halfpipe)