Eileen Gu, who has already won two Olympic medals in Beijing, on Thursday brought her passion to the freestyle ski halfpipe.
Gu, of California, who is racing for China, believes the halfpipe is the best of his three races. He already won gold in the big air and narrowly missed another. hillside style, settling for silver.
The women’s final is scheduled for Friday morning (Thursday evening in the US).
Gu’s main rival was also Estonian Kelly Sildaru; she was the only other woman to compete in all three events (big air, slope style, half pipe).
The United States has a strong union led by Hanna Faulhaber, 17, who finished fourth at the world championship last year, and Brita Sigourney, who won Olympic bronze four years ago.
Born and raised in California but competing for China, Gu gained international attention and sparked some controversy with his decision to represent his mother’s homeland in 2019.
The decision was barely noted when he was 15 years old and almost three years into the Olympics. Now Gu dominates his sport and finds himself in the middle of a growing geopolitical rift between his two countries.
Eileen’s mother, Yan Gu, was born in Shanghai and grew up in Beijing as the daughter of a government engineer. She immigrated to the United States for graduate study about 30 years ago and settled in San Francisco she.
Raised by her mother in an upscale San Francisco neighborhood, Eileen Gu became a model representing luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Tiffany. It has so much sponsorship in China that it’s ubiquitous in advertisements and is featured brightly from the government news media.
Gu said she wants to be a bridge between the United States and China while inspiring young women and helping China’s burgeoning winter sports industry grow. He and his mother refused to discuss thorny geopolitical issues involving rival countries.