While skier Gus Kenworthy is proud of winning a Silver Medal and joining his two team members in a first-time American medal sweep at this year's Winter Olympics, he's just as proud to help save stray dogs from the Russian authorities in Sochi. In collaboration with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, both men rose to the occasion to counter actions that could have put down dozens of puppies.
As the story goes - apparently Russians, not necessarily dog lovers - viewed the strays as a "nuisance." With so many roaming the streets during the opening ceremonies, Russian authorities made the fool-hardy decision to hire a pest control service to apprehend the so-called "biological trash" and then send them off for extinction.
Deripaska, one of the wealthiest men in Russia, was so disturbed by this potential genocide, that he took it upon himself to save as many as he could. Using his own money, he built shelters for the strays in Baranovka, a nearby township to Sochi.
When interviewed by BBC, he told reporters that the first dog he ever owned, his "close friend," was a stray he found on the street. So far, it's estimated that he's saved 140 dogs and many of them have been successfully adopted into homes.
In tandem, with Deripaska's generosity, Gus Kenworthy has fallen so in love with a pack of stray he's found on the street, that he's using all his spare time getting them ready so that after the Games, he can take them with him when he leaves for America.
"Spent all afternoon playing with a gang of stray puppies here in Sochi!" he wrote on his Facebook page. "Looking into finding a way to bring them home with me but also don't want to take them away from their mama because she was being super cute and protective over them. I bought them some food and I'll go visit them again tomorrow."
He also tweeted that he's already lined up vet appointments in order to get them vaccinated and ready to be brought home with him.
"Also, for the people wondering, I've lined up kennels 4 the pups &made vaccination appointments. Doing all I can to bring them home w/ me!" he wrote on his Twitter account.
Kudos to Mr. Kenworthy for being an Olympian on and off the course, and for Mr. Deripaska for being a man's best friend benefactor. Both are worthy of gold medals from the hearts of those that appreciate all life forms that inhabit our planet. And to the Russians - you might want to think twice about what qualifies as a 'nuisance,' particularly when the whole world has had a keen eye on some of your other world views, as well.