China’s freestyle skiing teenage phenom triumphed in Calgary after topping qualifiers
Gu Ailing Eileen is seemingly unstoppable.
Less than one month after clinching two golds and one silver at the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympics, the 16-year-old freeskier claimed her first halfpipe World Cup win in Calgary, Canada.
Gu scored 94.00 points on her third and final run on Friday evening to edge out Canada’s Rachael Karker with 89.20 points.
Russia’s Valeriya Demidova completed the podium (87.20) to finish atop the women’s halfpipe World Cup standings in front of the Canadian.
Lausanne 2020 silver medallist Li Fanghui was fourth at the Canada Olympic Park.
“Moments like these make me feel like the luckiest girl in the world,” Gu posted on social medal.
The Californian born freeskier then celebrated with her “idol” Gus Kenworthy, who took the men’s competition.
Both Gu and Kenworthy, who was competing for Great Britain for the first time, have switched allegiance from Team USA this year.
In June 2019, the teen sensation 16-year-old became the first naturalised skiing athlete in China. She’s in her second World Cup season, winning her first slopestyle World Cup event in Seiser Alm, Italy, last year.
Gu came into Friday’s action as top qualifier, and she’s looking to also win Saturday’s slopestyle event after finishing second behind Switzerland’s Mathilde Gremaud in the qualifications.
Equally at home on the slopes as she is in photo shoots, 16-year-old high schooler Gu Ailing Eileen wants to represent China at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. She’s looking forward to representing her mother’s homeland at Beijing 2022, and continuing to “do multiple different things”. (Thumbnail photo by Ben Queenborough for OIS)
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