onsdag 23. februar 2022

What Eileen Gu Means to China

Depending on your perspective, she’s either American as apple pie or the quintessential product of Chinese “tiger parenting” — a traitor or a trailblazer. But if there’s one thing we should all be able to agree on, it’s that Eileen Gu has dominated the Beijing Winter Olympics like no one else.

Just 18 years old, Gu won two golds and one silver medal in three competitions at this year’s games, making her the first-ever freestyle skier to win three medals at the same Olympics. Popular even before her trips to the medal podium — the aspiring athlete and model had signed more than 20 endorsement deals and took home an estimated 200 million yuan ($31 million) last year — Gu just vaulted her way into the country’s sports pantheon alongside greats like Yao Ming, hurdler Liu Xiang, and French and Australian Open winner Li Na. Her every move, from which Beijing cram school she attended to her choice of snack on the slopes, is dissected by tens of millions of fans.