Chinese state media outlets, and China’s tightly-controlled social media platforms, bestowed lavish praise upon 18-year-old American defector Eileen Gu on Tuesday after she won a gold medal at the Beijing Winter Olympics.
The intensity of China’s adoration for the former U.S. skiing “genius” may be diverting public attention from the lackluster performance of Team China, and the Beijing Games definitely needed a breakout superstar to change the subject from the host country’s monstrous human rights abuses.
Gu’s gold medal in the freeski Big Air competition was clinched when she pulled off the first 1620 turn (four and a half rotations) of her career and then managed to narrowly outscore her closest competitor, Tess Ledeux of France, after she landed the same difficult trick.
“That was the best moment of my life. The happiest moment, day, whatever, of my life. I just cannot believe what just happened. That was a trick I have never done before, had never attempted before,” Gu gushed after the event.
“I was thinking, ‘Should I improve on my previous one and go for the sliver or should I whip out this random trick I’d never done before and go for gold? Even if I didn’t land it, I felt it would send a message out to the world and hopefully encourage more girls to break their own boundaries. That was my biggest goal going into my last run,” she said.
Gu brought China its third gold medal of the 2022 Winter Olympics, and its first for a women’s event. Another American defector, figure skater Zhu Yi, was brought in to replace a talented Chinese athlete but turned in a disastrous performance with several falls on the ice.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the early totals from the Beijing Games put China in third place with 3 gold medals, 2 silver, and no bronze. Current leader Sweden had 4 gold, 1 silver, and 1 bronze. The U.S. had no gold medals as yet, but 4 silver and 1 bronze.
Gu is recognized around the world for her skill and might have a few more gold medals in her future. She has become one of the biggest celebrities in China, hailed as a hero by the despotic Communist Party – whose tightly controlled media is extremely sensitive to the impression that Gu was recruited as a ringer to bolster an underperforming Chinese roster, making the regime’s hopes for triumph in the Genocide Games heavily dependent upon the performance of a young woman raised in California.
China’s state-run Global Times on Tuesday published a packed photo essay documenting the “fabulous” gold medal performance of “China’s teen freestyle skier Gu Ailing,” as she styles herself when competing for the Communist regime.
In contrast to “Gu mania” in China, Gu had to face attacks from the US media & some netizens due to her background of being born in the US. Observers saw it as a metaphor to a rising and inclusive China vs a narrow-minded US once boasting diversity. https://t.co/hFSA4RkYcm
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) February 8, 2022
“The precious gold not only brings Team China to the top of the current Olympic medal table, with three gold medals, it is also a historic achievement as it is China’s first women’s Olympic gold medal ever on snow sports,” the Global Times exclaimed in an accompanying report, admitting that it took an American to gift China that achievement but not praising the United States or its training grounds for producing such an athlete.
The article rhapsodized over Gu’s performance, “which has made Chinese spectators breathless,” and praised her good sportsmanship in consoling silver medal winner Ledeux.
“Gu’s gold medal also inspired Chinese netizens on Sina Weibo, in which discussions about Gu exploded with over 220 million reads and millions of comments soon after her historic victory,” the Global Times wrote.
An unidentified Beijing “sports commentator” was brought in to praise Gu even more highly:
“All the elite athletes were trying to do the higher difficulty, and only Gu’s challenge succeeded. That is why she is the champion … this gold will accumulate a psychological advantage of Gu for the next two events,” the commentator said.
“They are not only athletes but also the best girls on the planet in skiing … their sensational performances will promote the public participation in the winter sports, their happiness to constantly push the limits will be passed to the audience who can feel the charm of ice and snow,” said a netizen.
“It is the pure love that makes her go from amateur to Olympic champion!” said the commentator.
The Global Times accompanied this hero worship with a belligerent editorial attacking American commentators who criticized Gu for putting her immense talent, honed with years of education and training in the United States, at the service of a genocidal fascist regime that would predictably milk her Olympic victories for every drop of propaganda:
Fox News host Will Cain on Wednesday called Gu out as an “ungrateful” traitor. Cain argued that it is “shameful” for the young athlete to turn her back on the US, the country that allegedly raised and turned her into a world-class skier, in exchange for money.
This is not the first time some voices in the West are taking aim at naturalized Chinese athletes. China’s first naturalized track and field athlete, Nina Schultz, known as Zheng Ninali in China, decided to give up her Canadian citizenship in 2018. However, the young lady, who is of Chinese descent, was criticized by some in Canada for her supposed indifference to “human rights violations” in China.
The Chinese Communist paper sneered that Americans have a “double standard” about naturalized athletes competing for countries they were not born in, gliding past the fact that none of those other countries is running gigantic slave labor concentration camps that can be clearly seen from orbit.
The Global Times even accused Americans of hypocrisy for disrespecting Gu while supposedly expressing sympathy toward Zhu Yi after her calamitous performance – which got her torn to shreds by surly social media users in the brutal dictatorship she has chosen to serve. No evidence for this alleged outpouring of U.S. sympathy for the failed expatriate skater was offered.