ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Bringing a silver medal back to Colorado is not enough for big-hearted U.S. slopestyle skier Gus Kenworthy - he also wants to adopt a family of stray dogs he found at the Sochi Olympics.
The 22-year-old finished second in the Olympic slopestyle final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on Thursday to help the United States to its first podium sweep at the Winter Games since 2002.
“There’s a family of stray dogs that are living outside the Gorki Media Center and I’m doing all that I can to try and bring them back with me,” he told reporters.
“There’s four puppies and a momma dog, and they’re like the cutest thing ever.
“I’ve been a dog-lover my whole life, and to find just the cutest family of strays ever here at the Olympics was just a fairytale way to have it go down. So hopefully I’ll bring them back with me.
“Yesterday we had practice all day and then I went down to the dogs and hung out with the puppies and brought them some food. Then I had to say goodbye to them when it started getting dark.”
Flanked by his team mates, gold medal winner Joss Christensen and bronze medalist Nick Goepper, Kenworthy said he would have no problem finding homes for the strays.
“I’ll probably try and keep one of the puppies for myself, and my brother and his fiancé have asked if they can have one of them,” he said.
“I’ve just gotten an influx of messages from people, everybody is asking if they can have one of the puppies, or the mom.”
As the Sochi Games began, animal rights activists launched a campaign to save Sochi’s strays after a local company said it had been given a contract to round them up.
A city official said no healthy dogs were being killed in the city, and the International Olympic Committee also has said only sick and dying dogs were being destroyed.
Kenworthy said he had not named the dogs yet.
“Dude, I don’t have them yet. I can’t name them until I’ve got ‘em!” he said.
Editing by Peter Rutherford