Even with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus affecting preparations for 2022, Chinese athletes are showing no signs of letting up in their quest for Olympic glory, recently highlighted by a series of inspirational wins in the International Ski Federation’s World Cup circuit.
China’s Gu Ailing, an American-born freestyle talent, made history by becoming the first ever back-to-back freeski World Cup winner in two different events at the same venue after claiming the slopestyle title in Calgary, Canada, on Feb 15.
The day before, Gu had stormed to her first Cup gold in the halfpipe competition.
Gu again thrilled the crowds on Feb 15 in the slopestyle with another impressive display of technical riding, landing a string of difficult tricks, including a massive right 900° twist with a tail grab in her second run that earned her 89.18 points to dominate the 18-strong field.
“Honestly, my mind is blown,” Gu told the FIS website after the triumph. “Coming in I didn’t have any expectations. I try not to take anything for granted. Honestly, I could not have expected two wins from these events.”
“I really just came in trying to do my best and ski the way I knew I could. Skiing my best is really the best part of this, and being rewarded for it just makes it even better.”
Born to a Chinese mother and an American father in San Francisco, US, Gu, better known as Eileen in the States, completed a naturalization process last June to represent China in international competitions.
Now she has her sights set on doing her mother’s home country proud at the 2022 Beijing Games.
A versatile skier who has won many national junior titles in the US, Gu shot to prominence last month after winning two golds and a silver – in halfpipe, Big Air and slopestyle – at her debut Winter Youth Olympics in Lausanne, Switzerland.
With Gu now on board in freeski, China’s snow sports team, which also features world-class aerial skiers and halfpipe snowboarders, is determined to challenge Western dominance on the snow in 2022.
(Translator & Editor: Wang Xingwei AND Luo Sitian)