Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York on October 23, 2015 · Page D9
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October 23, 2015

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Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York · Page D9

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Rochester, New York
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Friday, October 23, 2015
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DemocratandChronicle .com Friday,October23,2015 Page9D OLYMPIC SPORTS Talk to a freeskier, and within five minutes he’ll mention progress. It’s the lifeblood of the sport, moving it forward and pushing new boundaries. Gus Kenworthy has done that on the slopes. Thursday, he did it again — and in a more meaningful way than adding another spin or rotation. Kenworthy became the first action sports athlete to openly come out as gay, first telling his story to ESPN The Magazine . “I feel just amazing to have it out there,” Kenworthy said in a phone interview. “It feels like a huge weight’s been taken o of my shoulders. I’ve been completely floored by the response that I’ve gotten. Everyone’s been so supportive and so kind with what they’ve said.” After Kenworthy revealed the news, he was met with support. Tweets from Chloe Moretz, Miley C yrus, Jason Collins and many o thers poured in. I t extended to the action sports c ommunity, where athletes applauded Kenworthy’s decision. Sage Kotsenburg, the snow- b oarding slopestyle Olympic champion in Sochi, tweeted, “Gus you are the man! So proud of you for this I know it couldn’t have been easy but we’re all supporting you #GoGus” “This is huge, and I’m so happy for Gus,” said Joss Christensen, the Olympic gold medalist who along with Kenworthy and Nick Goepper led the USA to a sweep in the event’s debut. “It’s almost kind of putting it in everybody else’s face and saying, ‘Hey, I don’t care what you think. This is me, and I love who I am.’” Action sports athletes are part of a culture that frequently uses the word “gay” and other derogatory terms as synonyms for stupid or uncool. Michael Spencer, Kenworthy’s agent, doesn’t be- l ieve that’s out of maliciousness b ut says hearing that has had an impact on Kenworthy. But to Kenworthy, the goal is more than just changing the language that is used. It’s setting an example. The media tour after his Olympic silver medal and the U.S. sweep was a turning point. For the first time, he was being asked about his private dating life, and he felt disingenuous by omitting the truth of who he is. “More so than that change or that shift, I guess the biggest thing that I wanted was to try to just show people that this is not something that should be hidden,” said Kenworthy, 24. “I had such a hard time as a kid, and I think if there had been someone like me when I was a kid to look u p to, someone who had come o ut in this sport, it would have saved me a lot of heartache and I would have come to terms at a much younger age.” That’s exactly the type of example others noted. With his platform — an Olympic medalist whose stardom rose after he rescued a family of dogs from Sochi —he can reach so many more people, Spencer said. Said freeskier Tom Wallisch, “I’m really happy mainly just for him but also the sport and our culture. It’s really hard in action sports. Your image is so linked to being crazy and cool and traveling the world hooking up with girls. It’s really awesome to see him coming out like that and setting a good example. It’s really admirable.” B efore he medaled in slopes tyle’s Olympic debut, Kenworthy had been the first to land a triple cork in a slopestyle run. Last season, Kenworthy put down a Grand Prix halfpipe run in Park City that was the first to include four double corks. Although he has not won an XGames medal, Kenworthy was the Association of Freeskiing Professionals’ top athlete for a fifth consecutive year. He is the only athlete who is consistently a threat in the sport’s three disciplines: halfpipe, slopestyle and big air. As he told ESPN, it was when he was on top that he wanted to come out. And he hopes his journey will someday pave the way for athletes for whom their sexuality won’t be news. T he concerns he voiced in the E SPN The Magazine story — namely the uncertain response he would get from sponsors and the freeskiing community — aren’t gone. The response was overwhelmingly positive initially, but Kenworthy points out it had been only six hours since the article was published. Could he be the happier person, unburdened by worry about that reaction? He thinks so, and that’s a big step forward. “I don’t know exactly how everything will change, but I just know that I already feel a burden taken o of me and I’m just looking forward to the rest of my life,” Kenworthy said. “I’m ready to embrace who I am and be comfortable in my skin and see where it takes me.” KENWORTHY COMES OUT Freeskier says h e’s ‘ fl oored’ by w ave of support Rachel Axon @RachelAxon USA TODAY Sports ROB SCHUMACHER, USA TODAY SPORTS Gus Kenworthy, shown after winning a silver medal in the 2014 Sochi Games, says of his decision to reveal he’s gay, “I’m ready to embrace who I am and be comfortable in my skin.” CHICAGO Let’s be honest, Andrew Friedman knew he was go- i ng to fire Don Mattingly a year ago. F riedman bolted from the T ampa Bay Rays and became the Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations almost a year ago to the date, receiving the large st front o ce contract in baseball history. Mattingly was part of the inheritance when Friedman arrived. He was never his guy. And it became o cial Thursday that he will never be his guy with the Dodgers announcing in a mutual decision that Mattingly was out. “As we kept talking, it just became clear that this was the right time,” Mattingly said. “I think it was best for me and for the club.” Mattingly says he felt accepted by the new regime, but he was an outsider. He belonged to the previous regime, hired by former Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti. C onsidering most of Colletti’s people were pushed aside or fired by Friedman, bringing in his own executive council, Mattingly had no chance to survive. Friedman kept Mattingly a year ago only out of respect for owner Mark Walter, who thought Mattingly didn’t deserve to be fired. T his time, Walter let Friedman m ake the call, and it was an easy one. “I always felt like I was a guy who could work with anyone,” Mattingly said. It was nothing personal, and Friedman didn’t blame Mattingly for having the most expensive team in sports history at $310million and losing in the National League Division Series to the New York Mets, but he had to go. Simply, Mattingly wasn’t his guy . His guy is Gabe Kapler, who played for him with the Tampa Bay Rays, worked for him in Tamp a Bay’s front o ce and was hired to be the Dodgers’ farm dir ector a year ago. N ow, with Kapler’s only managerial experience consisting of one season in the Class A South Atlantic League, he’ll likely be F riedman’s guy again. Even if Friedman pulls a surprise and goes outside the organization and hires someone such as Bud Black, Dusty Baker, Dave Martinez or Phil Nevin, you can be assured that Kapler will still be his guy and be on that major league sta . It’s how baseball works these days. If you’re inherited by the new GM and not one of his guys , you’re out. It’s why Jerry Dipoto fired Lloyd McClendon within two weeks of becoming the Seattle Mariners GM, knowing he would have fired him next year anyway, s o why waste time? Everyone knows what happened the last time he inherited a manager. Dipoto resigned in disgust, unable to co-exist with manager Mike Scioscia, and cleaned out his of this past summer. So, surprise, surprise, guess who he’ll hire as his manager? Yep, one of his guys , Tim Bogar o r Scott Servais, both of whom w ere hired by Dipoto in the Los Angeles Angels front o ce. Servais will be the manager with Bogar as bench coach, or Bogar the manager with Servais as bench coach. It doesn’t matter that Servais has zero days of managerial experience or that Bogar’s major league managing experience consists of two weeks. It’s the way the game is played these days. This is why Friedman should have brought along Joe Maddon as well when he joined the Dodgers. G one are the days when general managers and managers bick- e red and feuded privately, well, e xcept in Maryland, where the marriage of the Baltimore Orioles’ Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette might not last until o pening day. Showalter, after all, was inherited by Duquette. He was Orioles owner Pete Angelos’ guy, not Duquette’s. Then, of course, there’s the bizarre situation in South Florida, where Miami Marlins GM Dan Jennings was owner Je rey Loria’s guy. Yet once Jennings went down to the field to manage, he no longer was Loria’s guy, with arguments over starting lineups. So Jennings is now out as manager and has been asked to return to the GM chair, but with diminished power. But even if Jennings returns as GM, he won’t be able to hire his guy as manager. Loria will be hir- i ng his guy . And his guy figures to be Mattingly. This time, maybe he has a chance to survive. Look around at the unemployment rate these days of managers who have been inherited and not hired by their new GMs. The longest-tenured manager is Sho- w alter, whom Duquette inherited four years ago. Walt Weiss of the Colorado Rockies and Fredi Gonzales of the Atlanta Braves are the only other active managers to have even one full season under a GM who didn’t hire him. Mattingly simply is the latest case study. He was the first manager in Dodgers history to win three consecutive division titles. They never finished below .500. H is .551 winning percentage during his five years was superior to any Dodgers manager since Walter Alston. But they never got to the World Series. And he paid the price. “I’m proud of what we did,” Mattingly said. “I’m disappointed we weren’t able to accomplish m ore.” Sure, Mattingly could have been a much better strategist. Those in the front o ce were scratching their heads far too often about questionable decisions and his handling of the bullpen. In their mind, Mattingly was an old-school manager who didn’t adjust to their sabermetric game. The truth is Mattingly pledged t he wrong fraternity, and, with a new chapter chairman in town, he was looked upon as nothing more than an outcast threatening to crash rush week. Mattingly will be back managing. This time on his terms and with a boss who wants him. Now, he has a chance. MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL With new regime, Mattingly’s fate no surprise Manager wasn’t Friedman’s guy with Dodgers RICHARD MACKSON, USA TODAY SPORTS Don Mattingly had a .551 winning percentage in five years and w on the last three NL West titles as Dodgers manager, but the c lub never reached the World Series on his watch. Bob Nightengale bnighten@usatoday.com USA TODAY Sports

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