Gu captures ski halfpipe for historic third medal

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Freeskier Eileen Gu of China, probably the most distinguished athletes of the Beijing Video games, is now two-time Olympic champion Eileen Gu.

Within the ultimate ladies’s freeski occasion of the Olympics, Gu, who’s certainly one of solely two ladies who competed in all three freeski occasions in Beijing, took her third medal and second gold, this time within the halfpipe. She is the primary freeski athlete to medal in three occasions in a single Video games.

After the qualifier, Gu stated she had extra in retailer for the finals, and she or he did not disappoint. She took the lead along with her first-run rating of 93.25. However in her second run, she went even increased on her opening-hit 900 and added extra spins and technicality, together with back-to-back alley-oop flat spin 540s in her ultimate two hits. She was awarded an almost untouchable 95.25, a rating that held for the rest of the competition.

When her win grew to become official, Gu hugged her coaches on the prime of the halfpipe, fell to her knees and cried. She then strapped into her skis, wiped her tears and dropped in for a victory lap.

“I’ve by no means taken a victory lap earlier than in my complete life, so I felt like, ‘ what, final occasion on the Olympics, it appears like I lastly deserve it,'” Gu stated afterward.

Defending Olympic gold medalist Cassie Sharpe of Canada took silver and her teammate, Rachael Karker, completed with the bronze. People Hanna Faulhaber, Brita Sigourney and Carly Margulies completed sixth, ninth and tenth, respectively.

“It has been two straight weeks of probably the most intense highs and lows I’ve ever skilled in my life,” Gu stated of the Olympics. “It has modified my life eternally. The second I landed the final 16 in large air, I knew my life was by no means going to be the identical. Even then I might have by no means imagined that I would stroll away with one other silver and one other gold.”

Throughout her debut Olympics, Gu has juggled an exhausting schedule and confronted huge expectations whereas additionally trying to straddle two cultures. Born in San Francisco to a Chinese language mom and an American father and raised by her mom and grandmother, Gu made the choice in 2019 to depart the U.S. ski crew and compete for China within the 2022 Video games.

“This was an extremely powerful determination for me to make,” she wrote on Instagram on the time. “The chance to assist encourage hundreds of thousands of younger folks the place my mother was born, through the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Video games is a once-in-a-lifetime alternative to assist to advertise the game I really like.”

Rising up, Gu spent summers in her mom’s hometown of Beijing. She speaks fluent Mandarin and has stated repeatedly, “Once I’m within the U.S., I am American and once I’m in China, I am Chinese language.” However for the previous two weeks in China, Gu has been requested to be many issues to many individuals.

In native information tales about her Olympic success, she’s “San Francisco’s Eileen Gu,” a younger lady formed by town by which she was born. Within the Stanford Day by day, she’s “Stanford’s Eileen Gu,” an incoming freshman who may main in molecular biology or journalism. In some U.S. information protection, she’s “American-born Eileen Gu,” with the emphasis positioned on the American half of her id, whereas in others, she’s “China’s Gu Ailing.”

Irrespective of who’s telling the story, Gu has been a marquee title of the Beijing Olympics. She is interviewed in English on NBC broadcasts and in Mandarin on Chinese language telecasts. Between occasions, Gu posts to Instagram — one thing different Chinese language residents can’t entry — in addition to to her Weibo account, China’s equal of Twitter. Her picture is ubiquitous round Beijing, on billboards and bus cease commercials, the place she is the most well-liked athlete at these Video games. Her Weibo account has grown to five million followers, whereas her following on Instagram has elevated sevenfold to greater than 1.2 million.

However what is probably most exceptional about all the eye Gu has obtained throughout these Video games is that she didn’t buckle beneath it. As a substitute, she landed virtually each run all through qualifying and the finals of three occasions, probably the most constant lady freeskier of the Olympics. In her two gold-medal occasions, even when she led the competitors, she was by no means complacent. She pushed herself to land higher runs and improved upon her scores.

Beneath the scorching warmth of the Olympic highlight, Gu did exactly as she was predicted to do: depart Beijing as a a number of gold medalist.

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