Eileen Gu and Kamila Valieva turned the teenage faces of Beijing 2022 below wildly contrasting circumstances


San Francisco native Gu is now a two-time gold-medalist, the Olympics’ youngest ever freestyle snowboarding champion, a Chinese language nationwide hero — and a budding creator.

Born and raised in California, Gu selected to compete for China in 2019 — the place her mom was born — and have become the primary freestyler skier in historical past to win three medals at a Video games, profitable gold in each the halfpipe and massive air occasions.

“I am writing a ebook,” Gu informed reporters on Saturday. “I have been writing diaries for years as a result of I knew that the way in which I grew up was completely different, attention-grabbing and particular, I would prefer to share it with everybody sooner or later.”

Hailed because the “satisfaction of China” after profitable her first gold, Gu has since received extra medals than anybody else for the nation on the Video games.

However Gu does not view her achievements at Beijing 2022 as purely a private achievement — in addition they serve a larger representational function, in keeping with the 18-year-old.

“Excessive sports activities, everyone knows, are closely dominated by males and stereotypically it has not had the form of illustration and sporting fairness that it ought to,” mentioned Gu.

“So I feel that as a younger biracial lady, it’s tremendous necessary to have the ability to attain these milestones and to have the ability to push boundaries — not solely my very own boundaries however these of the game and people of the file books as a result of that is what paves the previous for the subsequent technology of women.”

Gu takes flight during the halfpipe final on February 18.

Often called Gu Ailing in China, even earlier than the Olympics the younger star’s face was all over the place within the nation — splashed throughout billboards, commercials, journal covers and on state tv within the construct as much as a house Video games.

Given her success at Bejing 2022, her sky-high recognition unsurprisingly continued to rocket.

“Should you see your self within the sport, it completely adjustments your notion of what you are able to do in it,” Gu added.

“So my greatest purpose is one, to have enjoyable for myself, but additionally to interrupt the boundaries of the bins that folks get put in.”

Kamila Valieva competes in the women's single skating free skating of the figure skating event during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at the Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing on February 17, 2022.

‘Very, very disturbed’

Against this, Valieva leaves Beijing below the cloud of an ongoing medicine take a look at scandal and a “traumatizing” ultimate skating efficiency.

The 15-year-old Russian determine skater was touted to dazzle on the Winter Olympic and she or he did — making historical past as she turned the primary lady to land a quad on the Video games.

Nevertheless, a day after she helped the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) to gold within the crew occasion the Russian teenager was suspended.

The suspension on February 8 got here after it was found that Valieva had examined optimistic for banned coronary heart drug trimetazidine in December 2021, although the consequence was solely analyzed and reported to the Russian Anti-Doping Company (RUSADA) in February.

Valieva was subsequently cleared to compete within the particular person determine skating occasion, however a dominant begin resulted in tears after she fell a number of instances throughout the deciding free skate routine to complete outdoors the rostrum locations in fourth on Thursday.

After the 15-year-old left the rink in tears, former US Olympic determine skater Polina Edmunds described the expertise as “very traumatizing” for the teen.

Edmunds’ discomfort was echoed by Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, who mentioned he was “very, very disturbed” when watching Valieva’s efficiency on TV.

“How excessive the stress on her should have been,” Bach informed reporters throughout a media convention on Friday.

“This stress is past my creativeness, specifically for a woman of 15 years outdated. To see her struggling on the ice, seeing how she tries to compose herself once more. How she tries to complete her program.

“In each motion within the physique language … you may really feel that that is an immense, immense psychological stress and possibly she would’ve most popular simply to depart the ice. And attempt to depart this story behind her.”

Valieva fell multiple times during her free skate routine.

‘Chilling ambiance’

Bach additionally mentioned that he didn’t have “a lot confidence within the closest entourage of Kamila,” remarking he observed “how she was acquired … with what gave the impression to be an incredible coldness, it was chilling to see this.”

“Slightly than giving her consolation. Slightly than to attempt to assist her … you may really feel this chilling ambiance. This distance. And should you have been deciphering the physique language of them, it obtained even worse as a result of this was even some form of dismissive gestures.”

Kamila Valieva saga set to run and run as blame game breaks out over Russian skater's positive drugs test

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has pushed again at Bach’s feedback, saying that whereas he revered his opinion, he didn’t “essentially agree with him.”

“Thomas Bach is a really respected particular person in sports activities, he’s the top of the Worldwide Olympic Committee and, after all, we respect his standpoint, however we do not essentially agree with him,” Peskov informed reporters in a Friday briefing.

Peskov added that though Bach did not like seeing the “powerful” ways at play, “everyone is aware of that within the sport of nice achievements, the toughness of a coach is the important thing to victory,” including, “We are able to see the athletes achieved these victories. And trainers. So let’s be happy with our victors.”

Lizzy Yee, Angus Watson, Selina Wang, David Shut, Jacob Lev, Jeevan Ravindran, and Ben Morse contributed to this report

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