Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper were two of three American athletes on the slopestyle skiing podium four years ago in the Sochi Winter Games. Slopestyle, an event in which skiers perform a variety of tricks and jumps down a mixed-terrain course, made its debut as an Olympic game there.
Goepper gave another solid performance in Pyeongchang. After two shakey runs, Goepper earned a 93.60 and managed to reach the podium, winning silver. Kenworthy, who posted an Instagram video of a hematoma on his hip after falling on Friday, placed 12th. The field started with 30 skiers.
Goepper was joined at the podium by Norway’s Oystein Braaten, who won gold, and Canada’s Alex Beaulieu-Marchand, who took bronze.
Kenworthy, a 26-year-old British-born athlete from Telluride, Colo., who has also competed in the halfpipe, won silver in the 2014 slopestyle.
He is one of two openly gay men — the other is Adam Rippon — representing the United States at Pyeongchang. “I am more open with everyone in my life, and I think it just translates into me being able to ski a little bit more freely and not have so much to focus on and worry about,” the athlete told Reuters in January.
Days before the slopestyle event, Kenworthy broke his right thumb during practice. He quipped that the injury excused him from shaking Vice President Pence’s hand. The vice president led the U.S. delegation and visited Pyeongchang the previous weekend.
“To have someone leading the delegation that’s directly attacked the LGBT community … it just seems like a bad fit,” the athlete told Ellen DeGeneres on her talk show. “I feel like the Olympics is all about inclusion and people coming together.”
Goepper, a 23-year-old from Lawrenceburg, Ind., won bronze in 2014. He began skiing at age 5 and sold candy bars to pay for his ski passes.
The athlete told People this month about a battle with anxiety and depression after winning a bronze medal in Sochi. He said his decision to speak out about his mental health needs “really comes down to just me being comfortable with who I am.”