Eileen Gu Took Home the Gold, but Why is There So Much Controversy?


By Geena Kim, Staff Writer

At the Olympics, athletes have been repeatedly accused of representing the “wrong” country when their ethnicities are different from their nationalities. As most of us know, the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China began on February 4th. Sports like figure skating, snowboarding, bobsledding, speed skating, ice hockey and more are featured every 4 years in the winter Olympic games. Women’s freestyle skiing, in particular, took place on the 7th and 8th. Eileen Gu took home the gold medal for the women’s freestyle skiing this year, but why is there so much controversy on this?

Gu was born and raised in San Francisco, California, her mother emigrated from China to the United States 30 years ago and she became a ski instructor in Lake Tahoe, which is how Gu found her passion for skiing. Her father is not present in her life but we know that he is American and lives in the United States. She grew up raised by her mother and grandmother.

Courtesy of VCG

Gu, being an Asian American, was torn whether to represent the US or China in this year’s Olympics. She ended up representing China which is where the controversy arose. She is the latest olympian who has been highly politicized and controversial. People have been questioning why she represented China if she is from the United States. Since China does not allow dual citizenship, and are very serious about this. The government has been asking the public to report people who have secret dual citizenships. She hasn’t confirmed that she gave up her US citizenship but the Olympic Committee requires passport identification.

“When I’m in the U.S., I’m American, but when I’m in China, I’m Chinese,” she has often said. “I do corks in an icy, 22-foot, U-shaped snow structure,” “That’s not political. It’s pushing the human limit, and it’s connecting people.”

Gu stated in an interview before the games. Whether or not it’s the right or wrong thing to do, we should be appreciating and congratulating her extraordinary accomplishments and achievements. She rapidly became one of the biggest sports stars in China.

“Honestly people shouldn’t be focusing on her representation that much, at the end of the day she won the gold medal and her talents should be valued,” said Riya Kachroo, a junior at Wayne Hills.