20 Questions With Olympic Skier Gus Kenworthy

20 Questions With Gus Kenworthy Olympic Skier
Photo: 24 Hour Fitness

Even if you didn’t grow up skiing double black diamonds, you probably know the name Gus Kenworthy, after making headlines as the first openly gay man to compete in the Winter Olympics. And if you’re planning to watch the 2018 Winter Olympics, the seven-time world champion and Olympic silver medalist is the guy you want to watch in PyeongChang.

Also worth noting: Kenworthy is impossibly fit (2017 ESPN Body Issue proof here). And when the Telluride-native isn’t on the slopes, he’s most likely at the squat rack. So it’s no surprise that 24 Hour Fitness tapped Kenworthy (among other U.S. Olympic medalists) as inspiration for their new Team USA Bootcamp program. The high-intensity interval training class, which launched on January 1, features training techniques stolen straight from the pros. Think: functional bodyweight training, metabolic conditioning and burns-so-good plyometrics.

Daily Burn posted up next to Kenworthy for the pre-PyeongChang kick-off class, then grilled the 26-year-old slopestyle star on his hopes, fears, fitness routine and what’s in his fridge. (Hint: a whole lot of hot sauce.)

RELATED: The Olympics-Inspired Bodyweight Workout [INFOGRAPHIC]


20 Questions with Freestyle Skier Gus Kenworthy

First time on skis… “I was three years old. My family moved to a small ski town, and my mom learned to ski at the same time as me and my brothers. My first skiing memory was riding up the chairlift with my mom. I would fall asleep in her lap, and then she’d wake me up at the top, and say, ‘Wake up, we’re going!’ We’d do the run, then get back on the chairlift and I’d fall asleep again.”

Signature trick… “The double cork 1080 blunt grab, or the ‘dub cork, 10 blunt’ for short. It’s not the most technical trick ever, but it’s one of my favorites and probably most recognizable for me. Double cork basically means I’m going off axis, flipping twice; 1080 means that I’m spinning three times; and a blunt grab is just where you do a tail grab, but you’re right on the very, very end of your skis.”

Greatest athletic achievement… “My silver medal in Sochi in slopestyle. That was the inaugural event — the first time our sport had ever been in the Games. I landed a run that I was really proud of, and got silver. The guy who got first and the guy who got third were also American, so it was the third sweep in U.S. history. The whole thing, it’s still surreal.”

Hours on the slopes… “During the winter, I ski about five days a week, usually 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. It’s not an insane amount of hours, but it’s just a lot of work in those hours — grinding, trying new tricks, pushing, hustling, taking falls.”

Hours in the gym… “My workouts are between one and two hours, six days a week.”

Leg day workout… “I’ll only do four exercises — each for three sets, 10 to 15 reps. For example, I’ll do back squats, then a leg press or a leg extension, a calf raise, and then a sissy squat or something for hamstrings.”

RELATED: 9 Reasons to Never Skip Leg Day

Gus Kenworthy Workout - Winter Olympics 2018
Photo: 24 Hour Fitness

Exercise you love… “My favorite exercise is bench press. It’s so meathead, I know. But it’s been my favorite thing — ever since I blew my knee out a few years ago and couldn’t do legs, so I started doing everything else. I really got into working out, and started training with my brother. He was in the military, and I was so scrawny. I couldn’t do a single rep, with the bar and a plate on each side. I was doing 10 reps, just with the bar, and it was so embarrassing how nothing it was. And so now, to do a full set of 10 at 205, or 225, it feels so cool. That’s the exercise I’ve seen the most progress with by far.”

Exercise you love to hate… “Squats and deadlifts. I always dread doing them, but I know they’re important for my sport. I always feel really good about it afterwards. And it feels cool to move a lot of weight.”

Favorite cross-training workout… “We used to jump on the trampoline a lot. We actually don’t do it that much anymore, but growing up, so many of the tricks I learned on skis, I first learned on the trampoline. That was the most fun cross-training I did as a kid, when I was first getting into the sport.”

RELATED: The 15 Most Underrated Exercises, According to Trainers

The one thing that’s always in your fridge… “My sponsor Monster makes a Java Monster that I really like in the morning. And then, otherwise…it’s basically a lot of hot sauces! I never make food at home because I travel so much, so I just always eat out or order in. Yeah, it’s pretty much just condiments — it’s bad.”

Go-to cheat meal… “Mint chocolate chip ice cream.”

Healthy airport snack… “Almonds or any sort of trail mix.”

Fancy juice or protein shake… “Both! I love fancy cold-pressed green juice, and I have a protein shake after every workout.”

RELATED: 15 Deliciously Healthy Green Smoothie Recipes

Secret talent… “After skiing I want to get into acting. I wish I could say I’m a super-talented actor, but — you know what, I going with it. I’m putting it out there in the universe.”


Signature celebration move… “I raise my hands out to the sides, like a ‘say something’ kind of thing. It’s kind of cocky, I know. But some people wave their poles around or throw a fist in the air, and I feel like mine is a little subtler.”

All-time hero… “My mom. She raised my brothers and I. She’s so generous with her time, and definitely sacrificed a lot to take me around to ski competitions and hockey games and everything else when I was a kid.”

Motivational mantra… “One thing that I’ve been telling myself, especially in recent years, is: ‘This one thing doesn’t define me.’ I have to remind myself of that, because I get caught up in feeling that I’m going to disappoint people if I don’t do well. I want to be successful in skiing, and in so many things. But whether or not I win an event is not really going to change my life in that many ways. Whether I land that run, or I don’t land that run. Whether I get on the podium, or I don’t. My family is still going to be at the bottom, supporting me. I have such good friends and I have sponsors that are going to stand by me. I have so much to be appreciative of.”

RELATED: 19 Positive Affirmations That Will Change the Way You Think

The one thing that scares you… “Being alone, like literally. I have a house in Denver, and I used to have friends living in the guest rooms. But since [last] January, it’s just been me. I love horror movies and crime shows, but then I’ll be in my bed alone at night and I’ll hear a creak downstairs, and get so freaked out.”

What excites you most about the 2018 Games… “Well first, I’ll be most excited if I get to go. We still have a selection event [on January 15th], but I’m hopeful. Also, the last Games, none of my family made it. It was really last-minute when the team was announced and really expensive, so my family couldn’t afford it. This time around, my mom wouldn’t miss it for the world. I also have some amazing Olympic sponsors that are going to help make it easier for my family. That’s what I’m most excited for, to have all my family there.”

Olympic goal… “Olympic gold. I think that’s the same for everybody. But right now, I’m just focusing on making the team. I competed in two disciplines at the last Games. I just narrowly missed going for both of them. This time around, I’d really like to go for both, especially the one that I missed out on last time [halfpipe]. I’d like to get a medal in both my disciplines.”

Follow Gus Kenworthy’s road to the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games via Instagram (@guskenworthy) and Twitter (@guskenworthy). The Opening Ceremonies will air on Friday, February 9 on NBC. To try the Team USA Bootcamp, head to 24 Hour Fitness clubs nationwide.

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