International Demand

Gus Kenworthy slammed the International Olympic Committee, freestyle skiing, video, backlash, human rights

British freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy does not feel “the heart of the IOC is in the right place”, he said on Saturday as he withdrew from the Olympics for good accusing the governing body of “greed”.

Kenworthy, a 2014 silver medalist for the United States before switching allegiance, strongly criticized the International Olympic Committee’s decision to award China the Winter Olympics because of its “appalling” record in matters of human rights.

He told AFP earlier this week that he tried to “walk lightly” while in China.

Stream over 50 sports live and on demand with Kayo. New to Kayo? Try free for 14 days >

But the 30-year-old didn’t hold back after taking part in Saturday’s halfpipe final – his final event before retiring.

“I never thought China couldn’t put on good Games – I absolutely knew they could and they did,” he said.

“But when there are human rights atrocities happening in the country and a bad stance on LGBTQ rights, then those things have to be taken into consideration by the IOC.”

Kenworthy came out as gay shortly after winning slopestyle silver at the Sochi Games, and he’s been a strong supporter of LGBTQ rights at the Olympics.

He said he would like to see the IOC take a more proactive approach to helping “marginalized and disenfranchised people”.

“Because this is the global stage and everyone is watching, there is an opportunity to create positive change and the IOC could help dictate that change by pushing on some issues,” he said.

“That doesn’t mean I don’t like the Olympics – I do, I just think it could even be better.”

Gus Kenworthy has been a vocal critic. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Kenworthy switched allegiance to Great Britain from the United States at the end of 2019. He finished eighth in a halfpipe final that took place in strong winds and icy conditions, and fell heavily on his second run.

Kenworthy said organizers didn’t engage the athletes in “a discussion about postponing or waiting or anything.”

“I think sometimes it feels like their heart is not in the right place, it’s like it’s a game of greed,” the 30-year-old said of the IOC.

“The Olympics are so amazing, but it’s a TV show, and you really saw it today. I know we’re one of the last events of the Games, so they couldn’t have done much to carry us over, but it was dreadful today.