Nick Goepper’s mother has already heard from a friend inspired by her son’s story.

Goepper, now a two-time Olympic medalist, has heard from a few people himself. Though he’s an accomplished freeskier, the responses have come to Goepper sharing his story of struggling with depression.

Goepper, now a two-time Olympic medalist, has heard from a few people himself. Though he’s an accomplished freeskier, the responses have come to Goepper sharing his story of struggling with depression.

Nick Goepper of United States competes during the Freestyle Skiing Men's slopestyle Aerial Qualification on day nine of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park on February 18, 2018 (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

As he prepared to compete in these Games, Goepper shared his journey from Olympic success in Sochi to a recovery center and back to happiness. He stood on an Olympic podium at Phoenix Snow Park on Sunday as a slopestyle silver medalist, but it’s his openness with his struggles that can resonate.

“I think it has opened the doors for people to talk about it, and that’s always the first step,” Linda Goepper said. “I think we’re at the tip of the iceberg on people that his story can help. Even if he isn’t full blown, he doesn’t go totally on the road with his story, just sharing it has generated conversation.”

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Goepper is not alone. Gus Kenworthy, his U.S. teammate, has come out publicly as gay since the two medaled in Sochi.

Kenworthy won silver there and Goepper bronze, and both competed in the final here. Struggling with injuries suffered in practice for the Olympics, Kenworthy failed to put down a clean run and finished 12th.

Gus Kenworthy of the United States reacts during the Freestyle Skiing Men's Ski Slopestyle Final on day nine of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park on February 18, 2018 (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

But that didn’t diminish his reach.

Since coming out, he’s become a champion for the LGBTQ community. The Human Rights Campaign has honored him with its Visibility Award, and Kenworthy has spoken openly about his decision to come out and how his life has improved since.

“I’m really proud to be here. Being out at this Games has meant the world to me, just getting to really be myself and be authentic,” Kenworthy said. “Landing a run in the final, getting on the podium, obviously would have been icing on the cake. Even though it didn’t happen for me, I still had a wonderful Olympic experience and I’m really happy for the guys that did get on the podium.”

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Goepper was one of those guys on the podium, happy again even before he won his medal.

It’s been a journey for him to get there. After Sochi, Goepper got caught up in the whirlwind that follows for any medalist – media obligations, TV appearances, parties and feeling like a celebrity.

After that died down, Goepper wondered what the point of it all was. He drank, but that was more a symptom of what he felt. He considered suicide, as well.

Goepper’s parents got him into a recovery facility, where he spent 60 days. It changed his life, and it gave him the tools and perspective to get to a better place.

“He puts his pants on just like everybody else. That’s who Nick is,” said Chris Goepper, Nick’s father. “And Nick is not unusual. If you read Michael Phelps, there’s a thousand kids out there like Michael Phelps. There’s a thousand kids out there like Nick. It’s just they don’t get the notoriety.”

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Like Phelps, the 28-time Olympic medalist who shared his struggle with depression after he retired in 2016, Goepper is sharing his story.

In part, it’s healing for him to talk about it. He gets to be the most authentic version of himself in all parts of his life, and he doesn’t have to feel like he’s hiding something.

Though it’s not necessarily his goal to inspire people or to become an advocate, the fact that a successful athlete can share his private struggles can resonate with those watching.

“I would feel very good about that,” Goepper said. “I think it’s very important to be authentic and true to yourself. A great example is my fellow teammate Gus Kenworthy. Just to be open. It also really helps me with the healing process, talking about that stuff, making it known. It’s a little bit more different for me than I guess a normal person, just with all the spotlight.”

To be sure, there is no greater spotlight in their sport.

Goepper has three X Games gold medals, but it’s his two Olympic medals that have given him the greatest platform.

By sharing his story, Goepper has already given hope to those who can look at a successful skier – an Olympic medalist, even – and see a shared struggle. He has given an opening to parents to have a conversation with their children that they often don’t know how to begin.

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The flips and tricks they do on a course aren’t necessarily relatable, nor is being an Olympian. But their struggles can be.

“The message I think about when I think about the Olympics is everyone’s coming from a different background. Everyone has their own story to share. Everyone has these trials and tribulations,” said Tyler Oakley, a YouTube host and LGBTQ activist who has befriended Kenworthy. “I think courage is not coming from a background where those things don’t exist. It’s being able to find a way to power through what society tells us that we shouldn’t be able to power through.”