Hig Roberts, an American World Cup alpine ski racer who skyrocketed to the top as a member of the U.S. National team, has come out as gay.
Roberts, who is the first U.S. Alpine Ski Team member and the first male World Cup alpine skier in the world to come out, opens up in an interview about struggling with his sexual identity, how he felt “muted” by the Olympics organization, his evolution toward accepting himself, and what he believes needs to change in the world of sports to create a more inclusive environment for players.
Roberts expresses that the hyper-masculine environment of the sport prevented him from coming out, stating: “There’s this idea that being a professional skier in Europe, you’re garnering the attention of women and you’re almost a little bit larger than life.”
“I felt muted,” he says of his time in the Olympics. “I felt from the get-go that I should feel lucky to be there, not necessarily deserving to be there. It clamped down on my ability to express myself. There were moments where you hear homophobic slurs, and, you know, I was relying on lots of sponsors to stay alive or equipment for money. And I would hear things that would make me very hesitant to believe that my career could continue while also being an identifiable gay man.”
“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,” Roberts adds.
Roberts is now part of the growing community of LGBT athletes that includes Gus Kenworthy, Adam Rippon, Tom Daley, Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird, Magdalena Eriksson and Pernille Harder, and more. Looking towards the future, he is ready to take on the world and live his life freely, stating: “I am gay, it’s part of me and I’m proud of it, and I’m ready to be happy.”