Freestyle skiing icon Eileen Gu, born American but now a member of the China team, has announced that she will be the ambassador for the United States’ bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics, a news variously appreciated by Chinese Internet users.
Born in California to a Chinese mother, the 18-year-old athlete, double Olympic champion in February at the Beijing Games, has been representing China in sport since 2019 after growing up and training in the United States.
An emblematic figure of the 2022 Olympics, the athlete lives several months a year in the two countries. His change of sporting nationality had, however, caused a certain stir in his country of birth.
China does not allow dual citizenship and Eileen Gu has repeatedly dodged questions from reporters asking if she gave up her US passport to obtain Chinese citizenship.
The athlete said on Tuesday that she will be an ambassador for the United States’ bid to host the 2030 or 2034 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
“I think it’s a great example of globalism and the ability we have to use skiing and… winter sports to bring people together,” she said on Tuesday. an event organized by Time magazine in New York.
“Salt Lake wants to become a training destination for athletes from all over the world and wants 15 new countries to be able to participate in the Winter Olympics,” she added. “I’m really honored to be part of this.”
His support for Salt Lake City’s bid, however, generated mixed comments on the Chinese internet.
“She eats at all the racks,” lamented a user of the Weibo social network. “On his return to China, he must be arrested and executed for treason!” Responded another.
“Make money in China and enjoy the good life in the United States. Well done Eileen!”, quipped a third.
The young woman is the ambassador of countless brands in China, where she has signed lucrative advertising contracts.
Many comments on Weibo, however, on Wednesday welcomed the new role of the sportswoman, seen as “a bridge between China and the United States” and a symbol that “China once again has a sportswoman of world stature”.
“Well, she is mixed race and she loves both countries. Who are you to give her moral lessons and ask her to choose?” wrote another user.