Eileen Gu wins silver after fall but she’s still golden in China

Gu celebrates holding the award depicting Bing Dwen Dwen, the mascot of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, during the flower ceremony for the freestyle skiing women’s freeski slopestyle event on Feb 15 at the 2022 Winter Olympics. — Reuters

China cheered skier Eileen Gu for winning a silver medal on Feb 15 at the Beijing Winter Olympics after a tumble nearly left her off the podium.

Gu suffered a big spill in her second run in the women’s freeski slopestyle that left her sitting on the ground with only one ski on and seemingly shaken. “I was checking if my helmet broke or not, and I closed my eyes for a minute to rest,” she later told reporters.

Then a nearly flawless third attempt vaulted her into second place, and once again endeared her to millions of Chinese fans.

“She has indeed a strong heart and resilience,” one Internet user wrote after the event, when half of the top 10 trending topics on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform were about the 18-year-old skier. “She can pull off such a good third run after failure during the second. Superb!”

Another wrote that people “can always have faith in princess’s resilience”, adding: “She didn’t stand up for a long while after her fall. It was so heartbreaking to see. I hope everyone offers more support and understanding and less doubt.”

Gu, who was born in the US and competes for China, is the star of the Olympics, at least in the nation of 1.4 billion people. Since last week when she became the first Chinese woman to take gold in an Olympic snow event – the women’s freestyle big air – Gu has dominated Chinese state media coverage of the games.

She is also frequently featured in ads for companies such as e-retailer JD.com Inc and the social media app Xiaohongshu, or Little Red Book. The Luckin Coffee Inc chain has named a latte drink topped with blue powder after Gu.

Gu, who plans to attend Stanford University after the Winter games, will try for a third medal later this week in the freeski halfpipe.

“I’m glad that I have won a gold and a silver so far in the Olympics and I still got one more to go,” she said. – Bloomberg

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Winter Olympics 2022 , Eileen Gu


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