Eileen Gu Takes on Slopestyle Qualifying After Snow Delay

The Eileen Gu Present moved to the mountains, as China’s new favorite Olympic athlete — an 18-year-old freestyle skier from California — started competing within the second of her three occasions.

Gu, making a behavior of constructing drama into her Olympic occasions, adopted a middling first run in slopestyle with a stellar second one, advancing her to the occasion’s last.

She stated afterward that “qualifiers are all the time scary,” and headed to the halfpipe for a observe session, trailed by a swarm of handlers and photographers. She is scheduled to compete in halfpipe {qualifications} on Thursday.

Gu, who grew up in California however competes for China, got here in as a favourite in ladies’s slopestyle, the occasion the place rivals ski by a mountain course of rails and obstacles earlier than navigating a collection of three large jumps.

On a sunny however bitterly chilly Monday morning at Genting Snow Park, a day after snow and wind postponed the occasion, Gu opened the {qualifications} with a rating of 57.28. By the point she returned for her last run, she was in eleventh place, on the verge of not reaching the ultimate.

With the temperature at 7 levels beneath zero Fahrenheit, she coolly put down a strong run, then ate a shao bing, a kind of Chinese language flatbread. Inside minutes, she and shao bing grew to become a well-liked hashtag on Chinese language social media.

Her rating of 79.38 put her into third. Gu smiled and skied towards the halfpipe, comfortably settled into the slopestyle last scheduled for Tuesday morning (Monday night in america).

There have been a whole lot of spills on the slopestyle course, which snowboarders earlier had referred to as one of many trickiest, most-technical programs they’d seen. Amongst those that didn’t advance to the ultimate was Sarah Hoefflin of Switzerland, the defending gold medalist and a three-time world champion.

The 27 rivals every had two runs, scored by a panel of judges. Solely the higher rating counted. Kelly Sildaru of Estonia, thought of Gu’s largest rival on this occasion, had two sturdy runs for the very best qualifying rating. Johanne Killi, of Norway, was second.

American Maggie Voisin, who completed fourth on the 2018 Winter Video games, was fourth. She first certified for the Olympics in 2014, when she was 15, however broke her leg throughout coaching in Sochi and didn’t compete.

Gu already has one gold medal, in big air, earned in a dramatic, come-from-behind trend final Tuesday at an industrial park in western Beijing. Her win catapulted her to a different stage of fame and scrutiny. Afterward, she deftly answered questions from reporters for greater than an hour whereas swiping away probing queries about her citizenship standing.

The Olympics have a coverage that athletes should be residents of the nation for which they compete, and China doesn’t permit twin citizenship.

Gu, whose mom was born and raised in China and who maintains ties to Beijing, is a ubiquitous determine right here. Her face graces ads of all kinds, and her exploits obtain fixed consideration on state-run information channels.

Her portrait, made of 500 drones, lit up the sky in southern China after her large air victory.

However Gu has additionally stepped into an argument over web freedom in China, as some question her use of social-media sites that are banned in China and paint her as unable to know the plight of hundreds of thousands of Chinese language residing beneath censorship.

The query for the second week of the Olympics is whether or not Gu can proceed successful, retaining her recognition and advertising alternatives intact whereas sidestepping geopolitics and questions on her citizenship.

Slopestyle is an occasion that fits Gu, who confirmed technical prowess on the rails at a younger age, working with the U.S. nationwide group (she switched to China in 2019). She is a daring jumper, as her large air victory demonstrated.

In a smattering of worldwide competitions over the previous 12 months, Gu has gained or completed second in each slopestyle occasion.

Gu’s recognition has soared already, and it’s onerous to think about simply how large she will likely be if she manages to go away Beijing — on her method residence to San Francisco — with a number of gold medals. activities/olympics/eileen-gu-slopestyle.html Eileen Gu Takes on Slopestyle Qualifying After Snow Delay

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