Words: Alastair James; pictures: Instagram/@guskenworthy and BBC
Team GB's Gus Kenworthy has said he is just "happy to be walking" after a terrifying crash during the final of the men's halfpipe final in the skiing at the Winter Olympics in Beijing.
The skier was on his second run when he crashed against the lip of the wall after a jump. Amazingly he was able to get back up, shake of the accident and complete the run, even managing another jump before finishing.
Gus, 30, finished in eighth place with New Zealand's Nico Porteous taking the gold.
"A luck game"
Speaking to Eurosport afterward Gus said: "It wasn't the run I wanted to do. Considering the conditions, I still had more that I wanted, but after that bad slam I am happy to be walking and land the run and getting through it in one piece. It is a good show despite how gnarly it is out here."
He added that the conditions played a part saying, "In skiing, wind is the biggest factor we face. Snow you can deal with, even if a course is not to your liking you can adapt, but when it is windy - especially when it gusts - it is out of your control and is a luck game."
The three-time Olympian also reflected on getting into the sport, which was down to his mother saying he started when he was three.
You can watch a clip of the crash below:
"My mom and I learned together. She was 41 and used to sing to me on the chair lift and I’d take naps in her lap and fall asleep and wake up at the top and do another run. I am eternally indebted to this sport. I feel so grateful to be a part of it and to go to three Olympic games."
Before the race, Gus posted a snap to his Instagram confirming he would be retiring from the sport after the Beijing Games. He said: "After skiing and competing professionally for the last 14 years this will be my last day in a bib. Win or lose this one’s for you, mum."
View this post on Instagram
The former Attitude cover star, who is gay, previously won a silver medal in Men's slopestyle at the 2014 Games in Sochi. In 2019, Kenworthy - who was born in Essex but raised in the US - announced he was switching sporting allegiance from the USA to the UK ahead of the Games.
In 2020 Gus became the first GB man to claim the World Cup halfpipe gold.
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