Gus Kenworthy Believes Covid Gave Him the 'Twisties' While Competing

Tuesday December 14, 2021
Originally published on December 13, 2021

In a lengthy Instagram post, Gus Kenworthy told his 1.2M followers of how he thinks he suffering from symptoms from long-term COVID.


The post features Kenworthy with his arms outstretched with a harried expression. In it he explains his health woes of past few months, which began six weeks ago when he experienced a "pretty bad concussion while at a training camp in Switzerland." He added how he has had a few, serious traumatic brain injuries in the past few years "the seriousness of each added concussion has been stressed to me." He wrote: "I took two full weeks off and followed all of the SafeSport steps to return to snow."


But two days back on skis he experienced COVID symptoms. "I took a COVID test and to my surprise it was positive. Despite being fully vaccinated I had caught a breakthrough case. I checked into a hotel and did a 10-day self-isolated quarantine until I tested negative and was cleared to fly home."

But Kenworthy's life didn't return to normal. "Unfortunately, in the weeks since, I've had some ongoing issues with my head. Any time I've tried to workout or gotten my heart rate up I've become very light-headed, disoriented and nauseous."

Concerned that it was caused by his recent TBI, but specialist told him he had passed all the tests to return to the sport and the symptoms were likely from COVID.

Kenworthy went on to explain how his health affected his performance at the first World Cup of the season in Copper, Colorado. After the warm-up and before the elimination round he once again felt dizzy and disoriented. While discussing what to do with his coach (@justin_dorey), his name was called. "I dropped in but felt completely lost in the air during the first trick in my run - the skiing equivalent to the 'twisties'. We decided to withdraw me from the event foregoing my second run or a chance in finals."


WIth the Olympics just two months away, Kenworthy says he's "incredibly frustrated but trying to stay positive and hopeful that this will pass." A "fingers-crossed" emoji punctuated his sentence. "Not sure what else I can do but wait," with an emoji of a woman with arms raised just as Kenworthy's in his photo.

He concluded with "Anyway, just wanted to keep y'all in the loop. Thanks in advance for the well wishes and if any of you have had experience with long COVID and have recommendations for things that have helped please let me know! Appreciate it."

Among those who wished Kenworthy well are snowboarder Shaun White, who wrote, "Hang in there buddy!"; British multi-media artist Patrick Church, who sent four broken heart emojis; TV personality Colton Underwood, who posted, "Proud of ya...Sending you love. Keep working hard (followed by a praying hands emoji)"; and "Drag Race Canada" host Brad Goreski, who wrote, "We love you Gus."