- Sputnik International, 1920, 01.02.2022
2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing
The XXIV Olympic Winter Games, which are scheduled from 4-20 February, are kicking off in the Chinese capital. Almost 3,000 athletes from over 90 countries are participating in the games, competing in 15 various disciplines.

US Athlete Faces Heat for Decision to Compete for China in 2022 Beijing Olympics

© AFP 2023 / SEAN M. HAFFEYEileen Gu of Team China looks on from the podium after finishing in second place in the Women's Freeski Slopestyle Final for the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain on January 09, 2022 in Mammoth, California.
Eileen Gu of Team China looks on from the podium after finishing in second place in the Women's Freeski Slopestyle Final for the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain on January 09, 2022 in Mammoth, California. - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.02.2022
American-Chinese professional skier Eileen Gu, who is viewed as one of Olympic gold favourites, announced back in 2019 that she was not going to compete for Team USA at the 2022 Olympics, siding with China instead.
The decision by skier Eileen Gu to compete for China at the upcoming 2022 Beijing Olympic has been criticised by her fellow American skiers as "opportunistic".
Jen Hudak, a former Winter X Games gold medalist for the USA women’s team, shared her discontent with the New York Post, saying that Gu, born in the US but brought by her Beijing-native mother, would not reach the athletic level she has now somewhere else.
“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,” Hudak told The Post. “I think she would be a different skier if she grew up in China."
She reminded that Gu, despite her Chinese heritage, is "from California, not from China, and her decision [to ski for China] seems opportunistic".
Hudak acknowledges Gu's professionalism and impressive portfolio of skiing achievements, saying that Gu "can be the Tony Hawk of winter sports in China”. Her and others' disappointment in Gu's decision is understandable, since the young skier is considered as a favourite to claim at least three gold medals at the upcoming Olympics.
“It would be nice to see the medals going to America," Hudak lamented.
Gu announced that she would be switching sides to join the Chinese on social media in 2019, saying it would be a perfect "opportunity to help inspire millions of young people where my mom was born". However, many US critics have viewed her decision as "political", not driven by an urge to inspire youth.
“She’s an athlete, but she made a political kind of decision to leave behind the US and become Chinese,” Julian Ku, a constitutional law professor at Hofstra University, told The Washington Post. "I don’t think she can dodge that anymore. Today, athletes in America talk about non-sports-related issues constantly, sometimes unsolicited.”
Gu's decision has also drawn controversy because she is a US citizen, and China is known to not accept dual citizenship. By siding with Beijing at the upcoming Olympics, many have suggested, Gu may have indicated that she has relinquished her US passport - even though the athlete herself has not commented on this.
The young US-born athlete speaks both English and Mandarin fluently, and she also plays piano and does modelling; recently, she signed a contract with Victoria Secret. After competing in Beijing, she plans to attend Stanford. Additionally, she is a vocal anti-Asian racism activist.
Her decision, having drawn so much controversy in the United States, was warmly welcomed in China. According to the New York Post, Gu has been endorsed by the Chinese government, and is to receive financial support from Beijing as well.
“The amount of money and the amount of support she gets from China will be so much higher than what she would get in America,” an anonymous former X Games athlete told The Post.
In China, Gu enjoys wide popularity; there she's called Gu Ailing, or "the snow princess". Still, she spends large amounts of time in the United States, having secured contracts with several American brands; apart from Victoria Secret, she has deals with Tiffany's and Cadillac.
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