According to Chinese-language media Da Ji Yuan, on Feb. 8, American-born Eileen Gu won the first freeski big air event at the Beijing Winter Olympics on Tuesday, February 8th, making her the first Chinese woman to win in a snow event at the Games.

Gu, who was born in the United States before controversially transferring her allegiance to China three years ago, received an outpouring of support and excitement across China.

The Chinese government, which has always claimed to oppose the politicisation of sports and the Olympics, immediately issued a congratulatory letter praising Gu Ailing, expecting her and other Chinese athletes to build on their efforts and strive for greater glory for the Party and the people. 

Neither the congratulatory letter nor the congratulatory message mentioned the fact that the 18-year-old Eileen Gu was born and raised in the United States and received her first-class ski training there. Eileen Gu is representing China in the Beijing Winter Olympics this year.

At the 2021 Winter X Games, she won gold in halfpipe and slopestyle and a bronze in big air. She’s won four halfpipe competitions, one big air competition, and finished second in her single slopestyle start since the season began. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that she may become the first action-sports athlete to win Olympic gold in three different events, beginning with the large air finals.

U.S. coach Mike Riddle said, “She’s unbeatable when she lands even her ‘B’- or ‘C’-level run right now.” “If you’re trying to bet against her, it’s a bad call.”

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