Eileen Gu and Kamila became Valieva’s teenage faces

The San Francisco native is now a two-time gold medalist, the youngest Olympic freestyle skiing champion ever, a Chinese national hero – and a budding author.

Born and raised in California, Gu chose to compete in 2019 for China – where her mother was born – and became the first freestyler skier in history to win three medals in one sport, both the halfpipe and major aerial events. Won gold medal in

“I am writing a book,” Gu told reporters on Saturday. “I’ve been writing diaries for years because I knew the way I grew up was different, interesting, and special, something I’d like to share with everyone in the future.”

Hailed as “China’s Pride” after winning its first gold, Gu has won more medals for the country at the Games than anyone else.

But Gu doesn’t see his achievements in Beijing 2022 as purely a personal achievement – they also serve a larger representation purpose, according to the 18-year-old.

Gu said, “Extreme sports, we all know, are heavily dominated by men and stereotypically don’t have the kind of representation and sporting equality it should be.”

“So I think that as a young biracial woman, it’s very important to be able to reach those milestones and push the limits – not just my own limits but the limits of the sport and the record book because that’s what girls’ next. The past paves the way for the generation.”

Gu took off during the halfpipe final on February 18.

Known as Gu Ailing in China, even before the Olympics, the young star’s face was everywhere in the country – scattered in billboards, commercials, magazine covers and a home games creation on state television.

Considering his success in Beijing 2022, his skyrocketing popularity continued to grow surprisingly.

“If you see yourself in the game, it completely changes your perception of what you can do in it,” Gu said.

“So one of my biggest goals is to have fun for myself, but to break the limits of the boxes that people put in.”

Kamila Valieva competes in the women's single skating free skating event of the figure skating event during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing on February 17, 2022.

‘Very, very upset’

In contrast, Valieva leaves Beijing under the cloud of an ongoing drugs test scandal and a “painful” final skating performance.

The 15-year-old Russian figure skater was asked to dazzle at the Winter Olympics and made history as she became the first woman to land a quad at the Games.

However, the Russian teenager was suspended a day after helping the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) win a gold medal in the team event.

The suspension on 8 February came after it was revealed that Veliva had tested positive for the banned heart drug trimetazidine in December 2021, although the result was only analyzed and reported to the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) in February. .

Valieva was later cleared to compete in the individual figure skating event, but was in tears after falling several times during the free skate routine’s decision to finish outside the podium places in fourth place on Thursday. ended.

After the 15-year-old broke down in tears, former US Olympic figure skater Polina Edmonds described the experience as “very painful” for the youngster.

Edmonds’ uneasiness was echoed by International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, who said he was “very, very upset” to see Valieva’s performance on TV.

“How much pressure must have been on him,” Bach told reporters during a media conference on Friday.

“The pressure is beyond my imagination, especially for a 15-year-old girl. Watching her struggle on the ice, watching how she tries to reinvent herself. How she tries to finish her schedule. tries to

“In every movement in the body language … you can feel it’s a huge, overwhelming mental strain and she probably would have liked to just leave the snow. And try to leave this story behind her.”

Valiva fell several times during his free skate routine.

‘cool atmosphere’

Bach also said that he “didn’t have much faith in the crew closest to Camilla,” remarking that “it was cold to see how he was received … with a tremendous coldness.”

“Instead of comforting her. Instead of trying to help her… you could feel this calming atmosphere. This distance. And if you were interpreting their body language, it got worse Because it was also some kind of dismissal gesture.”

The Kamila Valieva saga is up and running as blame game breaks over Russian skater's positive drugs test

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov hit back at Bach’s comments, saying that while he respected his opinion, he “essentially did not agree with them.”

“Thomas Bach is a very distinguished figure in sport, he is the head of the International Olympic Committee and, of course, we respect his point of view, but we don’t necessarily agree with him,” Peskov told reporters at a briefing on Friday. be.” ,

Peskov said that although Bach did not like to see “tough” tactics in sport, “everyone knows that in a sport of great achievements, the rigor of a coach is the key to victory,” adding, “We athletes achieve We can see these victories. And the coaches. So let’s be proud of our winners.”

Lizzie Yee, Angus Watson, Selina Wang, David Close, Jacob Lev, Jeevan Raveendran and Ben Morse contributed to this report

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