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American-Born Gold Medalist Eileen Gu Is Under Fire For Representing China In The Olympics

By Gina Florio··  3 min read
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Eileen Gu
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Eileen Gu is one of the biggest stars of the 2022 Winter Olympics so far. She's only 18 years old and is already proving to be a massive talent—she just won a gold medal in freestyle skiing.

Eileen Gu is a multi-talented teenager who seems to do it all. She's a model, a freshman at Stanford University, and now an Olympic gold medalist. She barely beat Tess Ledeux from France in the women's big air competition, scoring 94.5 and a perfect landing. This is her Olympic debut.

"OLYMPIC GOLD!!! In absolute disbelief still," Eileen wrote in the caption of her latest Instagram post. "Thank you friends, family, and fans for all the support and thank you, skiing, for the experiences you have given me. Best day of my life."

But it's not exactly the gold medal that everyone is talking about.

Eileen Gu Represents China Even Though She Was Born in the U.S.

People can't help but notice that Eileen is an American-born athlete who was born in the U.S. and spent her adolescence growing up in San Francisco, CA. Yet she has chosen to represent China in the Olympics. Her mother is Chinese and her father is American, and she learned how to ski in the mountains of California.

Anytime a journalist has asked Eileen about her citizenship and how she manages to compete for China, she evades the question. We know that the International Olympic Committee requires all competitors to have a passport for the country they represent, but we also know that China doesn't allow dual-nationality. So it is a bit mysterious as to how and why Eileen is competing for the Chinese Olympic team. Did she forfeit her American passport? Was an exception made for her?

Eileen announced back in 2019 that she would represent China in the Olympic games. "I have decided to compete for China in the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics. This was an incredibly tough decision for me to make," she wrote in the caption of her Instagram post. "I am proud of my heritage, and equally proud of my American upbringings. 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."

Her Decision Has Been Met with Much Criticism

Many people have come forward to question why Eileen would compete for China. Jen Hudak, a Winter X Games gold medalist skier for the USA women's team said, "It is not my place to judge, but Eileen is from California, not from China, and her decision [to ski for China] seems opportunistic."

"She became the athlete she is because she grew up in the United States, where she had access to premier training grounds and coaching that, as a female, she might not have had in China," Jen continued.

Plenty of people on Twitter shared their opinion on the controversy as well.

While it might be a bit of a stretch to label her as a traitor to the country of the United States, there are certainly some unanswered questions about her participation in the Olympics that are worth bringing up.

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