2022 Winter Olympics: Eileen Gu skis to victory with halfpipe gold

Zhangjiakou, China

Pure joy on the halfpipe looked like this on a sunny, windswept day at the Beijing Olympics:

  • It was multinational freeskiing sensation Eileen Gu learning her gold medal was secure, then falling to her knees at the top of that halfpipe, covering her hands with her mittens and screaming “Oh my God!”
  • It was the 18-year-old superstar doing straight airs all the way down the pipe, gleefully punching her fists and poles downward as she vaulted herself above the lip, enjoying every last second of a victory run that meant nothing – and everything.
  • It was Ms. Gu wearing a furry panda hat as she climbed the podium, smiling wide and belly laughing while accepting her third Bing Dwen Dwen mascot of the Olympics – one for each medal she’s won.

“I was very emotional at the top and I chose to do a victory lap,” Ms. Gu said of her breezy final ride down the pipe Friday. “Because I felt like, for the first time, I really deserved it and I really earned it.”

There were smiles mixed with tears as Ms. Gu mingled with her competitors, the coaches, and the media at the bottom – a huge sense of pride blended with incredible relief. Her two-week odyssey in China included 16 combined runs down halfpipe, slopestyle, and big air courses and countless more practice trips down those same expanses.

By winning her gold, in a state-of-the-art contest over defending champion Cassie Sharpe, Ms. Gu is the first action-sports athlete to win three medals at the same Olympics. Two were gold and one was silver.

Leave a Comment