Filed Under: International

Eileen Gu: Team China’s California girl at the Olympics

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Eileen Gu is one of the world’s best freestyle skiers and has a gold medal to prove it. She’s become the face of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games, with a huge following in both the United States and China.

But her global success has also come with strong criticism for her choice in 2019 to represent China in national competitions instead of the United States.

“The opportunity to help inspire millions of young people where my mom was born, during the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help to promote the sport I love,” Gu wrote on Instagram.

Her decision has spurred dramatically different responses from American and Chinese social media users. Following her gold medal victory, the Chinese social media platform ‘Weibo’ crashed as users rushed to congratulate her. Meanwhile, several Americans on Twitter called her a ‘traitor’ and ‘sell out’.

But Gu seems to be ignoring the online trolls. Instead, she used a press conference to express her gratitude to both countries.

“I have always been super outspoken in my gratitude to the U.S. and to the U.S. team as well,” Gu said. “They have been nothing but supportive to me and so for that I am forever grateful and same to the Chinese team, they’ve, you know, been so, so supportive of me. And so in that sense I feel like sport is really a way that we can unite people. It’s something that doesn’t have to be related to nationality. It is not something that can be used to divide people. We are all out here, together, pushing the human limit.”

If athletes have multiple citizenships, the International Olympic Committee allows athletes to choose which country they wish to represent. It’s part of Rule 41 in the Olympic Charter. Athletes that change or acquire new nationalities can submit a country change request to the IOC Executive Board for approval ahead of competition.

 

I LOVE THE OLYMPICS. LOVE ‘EM.

BUT WHAT I DON’T LOVE IS WHEN ATHLETES LIVE AND TRAIN IN AMERICA, THEN DROP THE RED WHITE AND BLUE AS SOON AS THE OLYMPICS ROLL AROUND.

SO I DID A NEWS PIECE ON IT. WHY ATHLETES ARE ALLOWED TO… AND THE PROS AND CONS OF TRADING TEAMS.  

IT HAPPENS  A LOT.  BUT THE POSTER CHILD FOR THESE GAMES HAS BEEN FIRST TIME OLYMPIAN EILEEN GU. HER MOM IS CHINESE, HER DAD IS AMERICAN. SHE’S A CALIFORNIA GIRL-  BORN AND RAISED IN SAN FRANCISCO AND IS PREPARING TO ATTEND STANFORD. SHE DECIDED TO REPRESENT TEAM CHINA.

Journalist: “it’s unclear if you still have your American citizenship or if you’ll live in china from now on”

Eileen Gu: “So I definitely feel as though I am just as American as I am Chinese. I am American when I am in the U.S., and I am Chinese when I am in China. And I have been very outspoken about my gratitude to both the U.S. and China for making me the person who I am.”

SHE ALREADY BROKE THE CHINESE INTERNET….CRASHING THEIR MAIN SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM AFTER WINNING GOLD. THEY LOVE HER.  

HERE IN AMERICA, THE ONLINE TROLLS ARE OUT IN FULL FORCE. CALLING HER A TRAITOR, A JERK, A SELL OUT. IT’S BEEN PRETTY NASTY EVEN by TWITTER STANDARDS.

WHAT I FOUND INTERESTING IS THAT THIS IS KIND OF OLD NEWS. SHE ACTUALLY MADE THE DECISION TO COMPETE FOR CHINA IN 2019.

BUT THE OLYMPICS HAVE REALLY HIGHLIGHTED US – CHINA TENSIONS… AMERICA’S DIPLOMATIC BOYCOTT OF THE GAMES, CHINA’S HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES OF THE UIGHURS, AND QUESTIONS OVER THE SAFETY OF TENNIS PLAYER PENG SHUAI.

NOW, SHOULD THESE INTERNATIONAL TENSIONS REST ON THE SHOULDERS OF A TEENAGER? PROBABLY NOT. BUT IT’S REIGNITED THE DEBATE OVER ATHLETES CHANGING COUNTRIES DURING THE OLYMPICS.  

EILEEN GU IS COMPETING IN 3 EVENTS AT THE WINTER GAMES, SO YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE LAST OF HER INCREDIBLE SKILLS ON THE SLOPES.

AND YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE LAST OF ME EITHER….KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR MY PIECE ON COUNTRY SWAPPING AT THE OLYMPICS.

Eileen Gu is one of the world’s best freestyle skiers and has a gold medal to prove it. She’s become the face of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games, with a huge following in both the United States and China.

But her global success has also come with strong criticism for her choice in 2019 to represent China in national competitions instead of the United States.

“The opportunity to help inspire millions of young people where my mom was born, during the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help to promote the sport I love,” Gu wrote on Instagram.

Her decision has spurred dramatically different responses from American and Chinese social media users. Following her gold medal victory, the Chinese social media platform ‘Weibo’ crashed as users rushed to congratulate her. Meanwhile, several Americans on Twitter called her a ‘traitor’ and ‘sell out’.

But Gu seems to be ignoring the online trolls. Instead, she used a press conference to express her gratitude to both countries.

“I have always been super outspoken in my gratitude to the U.S. and to the U.S. team as well,” Gu said. “They have been nothing but supportive to me and so for that I am forever grateful and same to the Chinese team, they’ve, you know, been so, so supportive of me. And so in that sense I feel like sport is really a way that we can unite people. It’s something that doesn’t have to be related to nationality. It is not something that can be used to divide people. We are all out here, together, pushing the human limit.”

If athletes have multiple citizenships, the International Olympic Committee allows athletes to choose which country they wish to represent. It’s part of Rule 41 in the Olympic Charter. Athletes that change or acquire new nationalities can submit a country change request to the IOC Executive Board for approval ahead of competition.

 

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