Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

U.S. Skier Finds Canine Connection Slopestyle Medalist Takes in Sochi Strays

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

U.S. Skier Finds Canine Connection Slopestyle Medalist Takes in Sochi Strays

Article excerpt

SOCHI, Russia -- Of all the places in the cold and hardened world, what were the odds this one -- where stray dogs have allegedly been put down in the name of presenting a clean image -- would be the spot where puppy love flourished on Valentine's Day?

It could be a great kids movie. Dudely American skier wins an Olympic silver medal, adopts a mother dog and her four puppies and brings them home to live out their days without fear.

With one heartwarming tweet earlier this week from the mountains of Krasnaya Polyana, where he was competing in the slopestyle skiing event, Gus Kenworthy practically melted all the snow from the region's vast peaks, and the runoff could be felt all the way to Olympic Park and the Black Sea.

"puppy love is real to puppies," Mr. Kenworthy said from his handle, @guskenworthy, and of course he included a photo of him with the dogs.

Before he even won a medal, he instantly became the hero of these Olympics, which have been largely devoid so far of great athletic exploits from the American contingent.

Mr. Kenworthy, a 22-year-old Denver native, noticed the furry family near a security tent in the mountains. He began stopping by to feed and play with the dogs and became attached. Soon, he tweeted he is in the process of getting them vaccinated so he can bring them back to America.

"They're the cutest things ever," Mr. Kenworthy told reporters. "I've been a dog lover my whole life, and to find the cutest family of strays ever here at the Olympics was just a fairy-tale way to have it go down."

It was all too perfect, because Mr. Kenworthy's childhood pet, a mixed breed named Mac, died last year. He said he intends to keep one of the puppies for himself and find good homes for the others. Has he thought of a name?

"Dude," Mr. Kenworthy said, "I don't have them yet. I can't name them until I've got them. …

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