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These Are the First Openly Gay US Winter Olympians And Their Friendship Will Inspire You

Freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy and figure skater Adam Rippon made history at the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea not just as athletes, but as courageous individuals — and friends.

The Olympians were the first openly gay male athletes to represent the US at the Winter Olympic Games, and though they didn’t know each other at the start of the competition, the pair had become best friends by the end.

“The first time I heard about [Rippon] was because he was one of the other openly gay athletes trying to make it to the games,” Kenworthy told People. “And so I started following him and he was following me, and we started exchanging messages and catching up on each other’s qualifying processes and rooting each other on...and I think that Adam and I will be friends for life.”

For Kenworthy, who competed in the Winter Olympic games in 2014 before publicly coming out in 2015, this year’s competition felt particularly special.

“Freeskiing is such a macho sport that I felt like I couldn’t show my true self,” he said in a video interview for Procter & Gamble’s “Love Over Bias” campaign, the latest installment of its “Thank You, Mom” campaign.

“With every person that I told, I felt so liberated and free and I think it directly correlates to me being able to ski better, ski more freely,” he continued.

Since coming out, Kenworthy has made it his mission to make history on behalf of the LGBT community.

“The thought of being the first openly gay male ever to compete in the Winter Olympics — I totally embrace that,” Kenworthy told Time in an interview back in December. “I so badly want to inspire that community and do well for them,” and with the support of his mom, he has. Kenworthy hasn't let bias or discrimination faze him.

Read more: Gus Kenworthy Is About to Make History — But He Couldn't Have Done It Without His Mom

Instead, since meeting at the Winter Olympic games, Kenworthy and Rippon have joined forces as outspoken advocates for equality and a world free of discrimination.

“We’re not here to do our sport and keep our mouths shut and go through life with our head down,” Kenworthy told the New York Post. “We’re people and citizens and legislature, laws, prejudice, all of those things affect us the same way they do other people, and I think it’s important we have a platform to speak up for people whose voices won’t be heard because they’re not as amplified.”

The pair became fast friends and have been shattering stereotypes and challenging norms ever since meeting. 

“We felt like we had been friends forever,” Kenworthy told the New York Post of meeting Rippon. “[We] just texted the whole time we were there and laughed about stuff that was happening during the games, and then flew back, made people move their seats so we can sit next to each other, chatted the whole 14-hour flight.”

And their hilarious and inspiring friendship is encouraging people around the world to see that love overcomes bias.