A number of winter Olympians, including a couple from the United States, decided to bring home more than just hardware. Canadian skater, Meagan Duhamel brought back one gold medal around her neck and a puppy under her arm. However, US Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy took his love of dogs to another level.
A sour tradition in South Korea was exposed during the 23rd Winter Olympiad. The cultural practice of eating dog turned the stomachs of a world audience. Many probably didn’t even realize the questionable archaic custom was still practiced. Kenworthy was aware of it, and he chose to do something about it.
Kenworthy decided that rescuing one single dog from an unpleasant demise wasn’t enough. He chose to make a more dramatic statement. The 26-year-old skier, whose Olympic medal hopes were thwarted by an injury, gave hope to more than seven dozen puppies.
He first carried home a handful of pups to the Olympic village, during the games four years ago in Sochi, Russia. This year, his ambitions were driven to new heights after a heart-wrenching visit to one of South Korea’s puppy mills. He estimated that there were over 2-million dogs being raised as a food delicacy across the small island nation.
After plastering dozens of images of the pitiful plight of these dogs over his Instagram page, he went about doing something about it. While Kenworthy was doing his part to rescue these dogs from a pitiful existence, others felt the depravity these animals are exposed to is inhumane.
Organizations centered on exposing the brutality of this cultural tradition gained momentum from the efforts of Kenworthy. This was much different from the cute story following the events of the Sochi Winter Olympics.
The animals that jumped to the forefront of news media in PyeongChang were more than just idle strays off the street. These puppies are destined to a miserable existence and ultimately a rather brutal end. Through his efforts, the entire dog farm in South Korea was scheduled to be closed.
Each of the 90 remaining puppies were flown to the US and Canada where they will be made available for adoption. Kenworthy may not have fulfilled his dream of Olympic gold, but he helped expose something to the world. Then, he did something about it.