Anger, praise in China after Eileen Gu reveals US Olympic bid role

Skiing star Eileen Gu was born in California to an American father and Chinese mother, and chose to compete as a Chinese athlete

US-born Chinese two-time gold medalist Eileen Gu said on Tuesday that she would be an ambassador for Salt Lake City’s bid for the Winter Olympics, drawing both anger and support on social media in China.

Born in California to an American father and a Chinese mother, the freestyle skier moved to represent China in 2019 and won the hearts of the host country at the Beijing Games in February.

Gu’s status as the unofficial face of the Beijing Games has also thrust her into the heart of tensions between Beijing and Washington.

“I think it’s this great example of globalism and the ability that we can use skiing and…winter sports to connect people,” she said in an interview during a Time magazine event in New York.

“I think it’s a really beautiful thing…and so I’m really honored to be a part of it all.”

Its support for a US bid drew mixed reactions on Chinese social media, where it quickly became one of the hottest topics on the Twitter-like Weibo platform.

“Of course she doesn’t regret representing China – after all, in the last year alone she has made enough money in China to last a lifetime,” one user wrote, alluding to the numerous trade agreements it has entered into with Chinese companies.

However, others were more supportive, with a popular comment praising his “international influence as a Chinese athlete”.

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