Familiar with the Bay Area community, 18-year-old Eileen Gu has taken dominated the Winter Olympics in her skiing events, the Women’s Big Air, Women’s Halfpipe and Women’s Slopestyle. Gu won two gold medals, in the Big Air and Halfpipe, while also adding a silver medal in Slopestyle to her Olympic resume.
Despite being born and raised a relatively short drive away from Palo Alto High School, Gu decided to represent her mother’s native country, China, in the Olympics. This decision has been met with controversy as Gu has faced racial and gender prejudices partly derived from this choice.
“I’ve found it alarming that on top of all the misogynistic and racist comments that would disappointingly naturally be directed at Eileen, she receives more hate for a choice that she made,” senior Anika Chang said. “Instead, we should appreciate that we have a young skier our age who will continually compete for the years to come.”
As far as approaching the obstacles that have been thrown at Gu, China’s Olympic skier has persevered and proven to the world that no matter the scale of attempts to affect her negatively, she will continue to strive and display her talents to the rest of the world.
As senior Aidan Do said, “It’s admirable how Gu is able to hold her head high through negative situations, especially since the Asian community has been receiving more hate in the past couple of years. Although I don’t like how she’s not competing for the United States, Gu is successfully proving that she’s a role model who is able to put hate to rest.”
In addition to Gu’s knack to overcome negativity directed toward her, her increasing popularity as a prominent young Olympic skier has grabbed the attention of many near her hometown.
“I think it’s really cool how she’s lived so close to us as she’s grown up in San Francisco,” junior Ayush Singh said. “With such a major athlete representing events against the top-level competition, it’s inspiring to see a member of the Bay Area community flourish and achieve her goals.”
With the Bay Area producing other major American sports athletes such as football, basketball, baseball, and hockey rather than producing top-tier winter athletes, Gu has cemented her status as a distinguished athlete who resides within our community.
“The craziest thing about her is that she’ll be attending Stanford, which is literally just across the street from our school,” Chang said. “Having someone who will continue establishing a position at the top of her sport a crosswalk away is really awe-inspiring.”