On December 26, a state media outlet in China released its top ten world athletes of 2022. Eileen Gu, a US-born Chinese freestyle skier, beat Argentine professional footballer Lionel Messi, to win the top spot, which caused some doubt among Chinese netizens.
Eileen Gu, an Olympic champion in freestyle skiing, posted a training video to Chinese social media on December 21. In the video, the US-born Chinese athlete can be seen completing a switch 1260 tail grab, becoming the first female skier to successfully pull off this challenging stunt.
Gu and Su represent the group of athletes atypical to China's Olympic teams – those scouted by amateurs and clubs, as opposed to the ones selected and trained from a young age within the state-sponsored sports system.
When Ailing Eileen Gu landed her first-ever official attempt at a four-and-a-half-rotation trick and thereby won the gold medal, related hashtags were soon among the top trends.
Chinese-American skiing phenom Eileen Gu picked up the first Olympic medal of her promising young career on Tuesday morning after narrowly finishing in the top spot at the women’s freeski big air finals.
Chinese skier Eileen Ailing Gu won her first gold medal since she announced that she would ski for China in the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics.