'I am both Chinese and American.' Eileen Gu tries to bridge the divide

As much as her success propelled her to the spotlight, her background generated attention – good and bad

as the American-born Chinese star attempted to both bridge and stay above a geopolitical divide between her two countries.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Gu decided in 2019 to compete for China, where her mother, Yan, grew up.

The decision wasn’t without consequence for both countries, but especially China, which has hardly been a winter sports powerhouse.

Its medal count of 14 so far eclipsed its previous best of 11 from both Torino and Vancouver – a difference made up by Gu’s three medals.

Even as fans, media and commentators opine about who owns her success and question her choice to compete for China

Gu has maintained her motivation to inspire Chinese people – and young girls in particular – to get on snow.

“I hope that I'm able to use this platform to inspire more young girls to take part in freeskiing,” Gu said after winning big air last week.

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