Mixed reactions on social media in China after Eileen Gu reveals role of US Olympic bid

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.

But the 18-year-old, who won two golds and a silver, also drew attention to her nationality. She repeatedly dodged questions about whether she had given up her US passport for a Chinese passport.

Gu’s status as the unofficial face of the Beijing Games has also thrust her into the heart of tensions between Beijing and Washington. The teenager, who must study at Stanford, said on Tuesday that she would serve as an ambassador for a US bid to host the 2030 or 2034 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. .

“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. “Salt Lake specifically wants to become a global destination for athletes from around the world to train there and they want to bring 15 new countries into the Winter Olympics,” she added.

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

Gu also said she has no regrets about switching allegiances ahead of the Beijing Games. 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.

Some have questioned his motivation to compete for China. “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. “Turns out she’s American after all,” said another.

However, others were more supportive, with a popular comment praising his “international influence as a Chinese athlete”. The United States led a handful of nations to stage a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Games over China’s rights record, singling out its treatment of Muslim minorities in the northwest Xinjiang region.

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Post expires at 1:05pm on Saturday June 18th, 2022