KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — One of the Sochi Games' best stories got even better on Thursday. Slopestyle skier Gus Kenworthy, whose effort to find homes for four stray puppies and their mother led to "oohs" and "ahhs" internationally, can add an Olympic medal to his list of new things to bring home.
The 22-year-old from Colorado won silver as part of a U.S. podium sweep in the new sport. And he continued to look into how he could rescue the dogs that live in a security tent near the Gorki Media Center about two miles away from the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
"I'm doing all that I can to try and bring them back with me," Kenworthy said. "They're like the cutest things ever."
He's not really exaggerating. These are some cute dogs.
Kenworthy has vowed to adopt one of the puppies, and his brother and fiancée offered to take another. People far and wide have messaged Kenworthy that they'd like one of the litter. The bigger question, Kenworthy said, will be whether he can rescue the mother. If not, at the very least he hopes to get her spayed.
The outcry after local officials enlisted a company to cull stray dogs, using poisoned meat and other inhumane tactics, led to an oligarch offering a place for strays to stay, Americans hoping to figure out how to adopt a stray and a dog-smuggling operation ferrying the ones that lived out of town.
Kenworthy heard about the strays from a friend. He took a gondola from the Olympic Village to the base of the mountain, rode a bus and brought food to the pups. The night before winning his medal, Kenworthy stayed with the dogs until dawn.
"I've been a dog lover my whole life," he said. "To find the cutest family of strays ever here at the Olympics was just a fairy-tale way to go down."
About a year ago, Kenworthy's dog, Mac, died. He was a rescue, too, picked up at the Humane Society, with an indeterminate breed. Kenworthy sees the same in these puppies: Creatures who need a chance to succeed as much as their potential savior has.
"To leave with a medal and a dog," Kenworthy said, "would be pretty perfect for me."
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