PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – Gus Kenworthy and boyfriend Matthew Wilkas, with a rainbow stars and stripes flag, cheered Adam Rippon at the Olympic men’s free skate on Saturday.
Wilkas brought the flag to Kenworthy’s ski slopestyle event Sunday morning to cheer him on.
That flag was purchased for $60 at a store in West Hollywood, Calif., Wilkas said while holding the flag at the bottom of the course as qualifying began.
“I knew [we would bring it] as soon as I knew [Kenworthy] was coming [to the Olympics],” Wilkas said. “I was like, we have to.”
Kenworthy met with his parents, Wilkas and friends before his first of two qualifying runs.
“Did you see Britney’s tweet?” was one of the first things Kenworthy said to the group when he saw them.
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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – Four years ago, Nick Goepper and Gus Kenworthy shared a podium as part of the third U.S. sweep in Winter Olympic history. Bronze medalist Goepper, silver medalist Kenworthy and gold medalist Joss Christensen left Sochi early for a parade of media appearances.
NBCOlympics.com: Watch: Goepper’s silver medal run
They visited Rolling Stone. They went on David Letterman. Then they went their separate ways.
Goepper and Kenworthy, after a life-changing Olympic cycle for very different reasons, qualified for a second Olympics and competed here Sunday morning and afternoon. Christensen, in a failed comeback bid from a May torn ACL, was unable to join them.
NBCOlympics.com USA’s Nick Goepper wins silver medal in freeski slopestyle
Goepper, the gold-medal favorite four years ago, nailed his third and last run in the ski slopestyle final to grab a silver medal behind Norwegian Oystein Braaten and in front of Canadian Alex Beaulieu-Marchand. Goepper had been in ninth place.
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ANGNEUNG, South Korea – Before Adam Rippon took the ice for his Olympic free skate warm-up, he saw Nathan Chen, who was minutes removed from a spectacular performance.
“I gave him a big hug, and I said, I’m so proud of you,” Rippon said. “Because I am. I see how hard he works. He had the weight of the world coming into this.”
NBCOlympics.com: Yuzuru Hanyu repeats as gold medalist in PyeongChang
Chen and Rippon, two men who have shared a coach for five years but are opposites in demeanor, age and skating style, will look back on these Olympics in vastly different ways.
The calm Chen was asked to sum up his first Olympics in one word.
“Three words,” he said. “Up and down.”
Rippon didn’t attempt a quad – as expected – but was proud to finish 10th after making the Olympics in his third and last try. He broke into tears on the ice in what may have been his last competition. Unlike Chen, Rippon is not committing to skating at next month’s world championships.
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