Sunday, October 15, 2017

October 15

 

































Gus Kenworthy




Closeted gay athletes used to say that they stayed in the closet because they would lose lucrative sponsors. Well, Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy has turned that excuse on its head.

An excerpt from Sports Business Journal:

...As a good-looking, outgoing silver medalist who helped rescue stray dogs in Sochi, Kenworthy would have had plenty of calls from sponsors regardless. But when he told ESPN Magazine in 2015 he’s gay, he added the factor that makes all the difference to marketers: A distinctive personal story that highlights a diversity theme.

He’s already signed with Visa, Toyota, Ralph Lauren (photo above), Deloitte and 24 Hour Fitness, and his agent...says at least two more Olympic deals are coming. Those are on top of his long-term relationships with Monster Energy, Atomic skis and Smith goggles. He’ll be featured in Visa’s marketing and extensively profiled on NBC broadcasts. Olympic insiders say nearly every USOC or IOC sponsor inquired about his availability.

“It’s absolutely true –  I think I’m more marketable now as an out athlete,” Kenworthy said. “Every brand is looking for diversity...more so than it’s ever been.”

From Jim Buzinski at Outsports:
...(Kenworthy) is aware of the power of being a brand spokesman because he’s gay (“I think that’s so friggin’ cool,” he said). And his story has been embraced by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Assn., which asked him to do a Facebook live video on Wednesday (October 11) for National Coming Out Day*.    

Background: In October, 2015, Kenworthy became the first action-sports star to come out. He had won a silver medal in men’s freestyle skiing at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and he’s training for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea next February.

*Observed annually since 1988. October 11 was chosen because that was the anniversary of the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.