KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (USATODAY.com) - Athletes here are looking to go home with a medal. Gus Kenworthy wants that, but he's working on another souvenir from Sochi - puppies.
The American freeskier is trying to adopt and take home a mother and her litter of four puppies, which have lived outside the Gorki Media Center in the mountain village.
A dog lover his whole life, the 22-year-old Coloradan saw the family and decided he needed to help.
"The puppies are adorable," he said after the semifinal of the slopestyle competition at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on Thursday.
Kenworthy has already arranged for kennels and is trying to get them vaccinated on Monday. Getting the puppies on a plane is not difficult, he said, because he can put two to a kennel. Bringing their mother might be harder because of different requirements for adult dogs.
"I'm trying," he said. "I'm doing what I can."
If he can get everything in order, he says he's already heard from friends and family who will take the puppies. His brother has already said he'd like to adopt one of the puppies, and Kenworthy plans to keep another.
"I've gotten a lot of messages from friends and family that would happily take them, including the mom," Kenworthy said.
Before he can rescue the dogs, Kenworthy has a chance at that medal. He's in the slopestyle finals later Thursday.