PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) Gus Kenworthy’s Olympics turned into Oystein Braaten’s party.
Braaten, a 22-year-old from Norway, captured the gold medal in ski slopestyle Sunday, far outdistancing the dinged-up Kenworthy, who failed to land any of his three runs and came in last.
Braaten, who learned the sport by setting up rails and jumps in his backyard, edged out American Nick Goepper, who added a silver medal to the bronze he won four years ago in Sochi.
Alex Beaulieu-Marchand of Canada took this year’s bronze.
But most of the eyeballs on this sunny day at the action park were on Kenworthy, the 26-year-old from Colorado who came out as gay about two years after capturing the silver medal in Russia. He has since become a strong, steady voice in the LGBT community, and has used the Pyeongchang Games to amplify his message .
”It didn’t work out for me, which is a bummer,” Kenworthy said. ”I would’ve loved to have landed a run for sure. Definitely disappointing.”
But there were other victories that, in the long run, will probably be even bigger than the gold medal.
NBC showed Kenworthy kissing his boyfriend , Matt Wilkas, at the bottom after qualifying, as the two stood amid a number of rainbow gay-pride flags waving in the crowd during a break in the action.
”I didn’t even know that was a televised moment at all,” Kenworthy said. ”That’s something that’s amazing. It’s something I wanted at the last Olympics, was to share a kiss with my boyfriend at the bottom and it’s something I was too scared to do for myself. And so, to be able to do that, to give him a kiss, to have that affection broadcast to the world, is incredible.”
It capped what has been a whirlwind of a week for Kenworthy, who broke his thumb in training earlier in the week and had to have several milliliters of blood drained from his hip – injuries he detailed to his growing number of followers on social media .
Was it still an OK day?
”I think so,” Wilkas said. ”I know he’s happy to have just been here and to have made it into the finals. It’s amazing. He was injured going into this. It limited his competition. He did great in qualification. Maybe he was just too injured to follow through in this. I don’t know.”
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