Freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy is considering switching his nationality from the U.S. to his birth nation of Great Britain, should it be his preferred route toward the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, his agent said.
U.S. Ski & Snowboard and GB Snowsport spokespersons also recently said Kenworthy took steps toward a possible move. Nothing has been made official by the International Ski Federation (FIS), which still lists Kenworthy as American.
Kenworthy, the 2014 Olympic ski slopestyle silver medalist, was born in Chelmsford, about 30 miles northeast of London. He moved to the U.S. at age 2 but, as he grew up, made yearly trips back across the Atlantic to see his mom’s extended family.
Before Kenworthy’s events — halfpipe and slopestyle — were added to the Olympics in 2014, he considered representing Great Britain, which would have been an easier team to make.
“But then I was like, I don’t want to go to the Olympics just to go to the Olympics,” he said before taking slopestyle silver in Sochi as part of a U.S. podium sweep. “I want to go to the Olympics to win. If you’re going to try and win, it doesn’t really matter what country you’re competing for. … I love the UK, but I’m from the U.S. and of course I want to represent the country I love and the country that I’m from.”
Kenworthy, 28, has competed once since the PyeongChang Olympics, at the Winter X Games in January. He since took on a TV acting role on “American Horror Story: 1984” and a guest spot on the final season of NBC’s “Will & Grace.”
Last fall, Kenworthy said he thought he would be too old to go for a third Olympics in 2022, according to Variety.
“I was one of the older guys at this Olympics,” Kenworthy said, according to the magazine. “There’s still a career that exists around skiing that doesn’t necessarily revolve around the Olympics.”
But he is still open to competing, perhaps through 2022, when he will be two years older than any male slopestyle skier from the event’s first two Olympics in Sochi and PyeongChang. Kenworthy finished 12th in the 12-man final in PyeongChang.
He wasn’t 100 percent in South Korea, competing with a broken thumb and after having six vials of blood drained from a hematoma on his hip.
Kenworthy said in post-Olympic interviews that he planned to continue competing in the short term but was unsure of 2022.
“I feel like I’m at a sort of weird crossroads in my life,” Kenworthy said last year, according to Variety. “I kind of had planned to be done competing at this last Olympics. And then I got hurt in practice. I didn’t ski the way that I wanted to. They say you’re only as good as your last performance. My last performance was not what I had hoped for. It’s made it really hard to walk away.”
NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.
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