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US ski champion Hig Roberts comes out as gay

The world cup alpine skier says he's "ready to be happy" after coming to terms with his sexuality.

2020-12-14

Words: Will Stroude

US ski champion Hig Roberts has come out publicly as gay, declaring: "I’m ready to be happy."

The 29-year-old alpine skier, who made 31 starts in World Cup competition between 2015-19 and is a two-time national title winner, opened up about his difficult journey towards accepting his sexuality in an interview with The New York Times.

"Not being able to be who I am and not be able to be openly gay as a professional athlete was truly hindering my performance," said Roberts, who announced his retirement from the sport in 2019.

 

Photography: Kacey Cole

Roberts recalled how he first began questioning his sexuality at about 12 years-old, but attempting to brush aside thoughts about his sexuality as he forged a career in the hyper-macho, often conservative world of professional snow sports.

The Colorado-born athlete was the first alternate for the US teams at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, but despite finding sporting success on the slopes, his mental health began to suffer as he wrestled with the weight of keeping his sexuality a secret.

Photography: Kacey Cole

"I just woke up one morning and I said, ‘Enough is enough,’" Roberts recalled.

"I love this sport more than anything — I’m so lucky and privileged to be doing this — but I can’t go on another day not trying to achieve the person that I am meant to be. Which I think for each and every one of us, one of those main goals needs to be happiness and authenticity."

Photography: Kacey Cole

Though he may be retired, Roberts stands as one of the few top-level male athletes from the world of professional skiing to come out publicly as gay.

His coming out announcement comes five years after US freeskier and Olympic silver medal holder Gus Kenworthy came out publicly as gay, generating global headlines in the process.

Since retiring from professional skiing, Roberts has begun a new career in Norway working in finance, and seems ready to embark on a new chapter.

"I am gay," Roberts said. "It’s part of me and I’m proud of it, and I’m ready to be happy."

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