US-born teen Gu wins freestyle gold for China at Beijing Olympics

By: AFP
Published: 09:34 AM, 8 Feb, 2022
US-born teen Gu wins freestyle gold for China at Beijing Olympics
Caption: Eileen Gu
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Californian-born Eileen Gu won a spectacular gold for China at the Beijing Olympics on Tuesday as she triumphed in the inaugural women's freeski Big Air at the Winter Games.

After a strong opening jump, the 18-year-old saved her best for her last leap when she managed four rotations before grabbing the outside of her ski and landing backwards.

The stunning jump saw her snatch first place from France's Tess Ledeux, 20, the Big Air champion at last month's X Games in Aspen, who had to settle for silver.

As Gu set off for her final run, the crowd of several hundred at the Big Air Shougang venue roared "Come on".

The teenager, who switched allegiance from the United States to China in 2019, put her hands on her helmet as she landed cleanly and realised she had pulled off a winning jump.

It was scored at 94.50, the same as Ledeux's best in the first round. That gave Gu a total score of 188.25, combining her two highest-scoring jumps, compared to 187.50 for the Frenchwoman.

At the finish zone, Gu screamed with joy and fell to her knees as the scores flashed up, watched by International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, who was among the first to congratulate her on her gold medal on her debut.

The crowd then gave her a standing ovation.

Gu, born to an American father and Chinese mother, has become hugely popular in China and endorses several luxury brands.

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.