'She is insane': Fans erupt over 'amazing' Eileen Gu display

Eileen Gu dropped two massive runs to easily top the freestyle skiiing halfpipe qualifiers. Pic: Getty
Eileen Gu dropped two massive runs to easily top the freestyle skiiing halfpipe qualifiers. Pic: Getty

There doesn't seem to be any stopping Eileen Gu at the Winter Olympics, with the American-born Chinese skier laying down another incredible marker in Beijing on Thursday.

Gu has already claimed one gold medal in the Big Air event, as well as a silver in the slopestyle competition, with another gold firmly in the 18-year-old's sights after a dominant performance in the freestyle skiing halfpipe qualifiers.

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Bidding to become the first action-sports athlete to capture three medals at the same Winter Games, Gu recorded the top score not once but twice in Thursday's halfpipe qualifying round on a crisp morning at the Genting Snow Park.

Gu played it safe in the first of her two runs and still scored a 93.75 after hitting a number of stunning aerials that included back-to-back 900s, a switch 360 and two alley-oops.

However, China's teen sensation stepped it up a notch in her second run, dropping an astonishing 95.50 to finish a whopping six points ahead of her nearest rival.

Gu upped the 900 Buick trick to a cork and the final alley-oop to a 540 flat spin on her second run to set an extraordinary benchmark that left viewers gobsmacked.

Canada's Rachael Karker recorded the second best score in the women's free ski halfpipe qualifiers, courtesy of an 89.50.

Estonia’s Kelly Sildaru scored an 87.50 for the third best score, with the top 12 athletes qualifying for Friday's final.

Gu has reportedly made a whopping $42 million in endorsements since the start of last year in a telling revelation that vindicates her controversial move to China.

The American-born Gu angered some in the US team when she switched allegiances to compete for China before the Beijing Games.

After winning gold in the Big Air event last week, she collected a silver medal on Tuesday in the slopestyle, and looks on course for another gold in the halfpipe.

The 18-year-old, whose mother was born in China and whose father is American, made the switch in 2019 to represent China at its home Olympics, with the aim of promoting her sport to a new and vast audience in Asia.

Eileen Gu's star is on the rise

Gu is also laughing all the way to the bank, with her decision to compete for China resulting in massive endorsement and sponsorship deals.

She is arguably the face of the Beijing Games, appearing on TV ads and billboards all around the country.

Sales of her red Anta ski suit have reportedly surged 20-fold on Chinese e-commerce platform, while local news outlet Tianxiashangwang reports that Gu has earned more than 200 million yuan ($A42 million) since the start of 2021.

Luckin Coffee sold out of Gu-endorsed drinks, with a spike in cup-holders bearing her image, and the Chinese chain immediately said it would launch more Gu-linked products throughout the year.

“She is the golden star for the country with the fastest-growing economy,” American expert Mike Hanley said recently.

“She can be the Tony Hawk of winter sports in China.”

Seen here, China's freestyle skier Eileen Gu poses after winning a silver medal at the Winter Olympics.
China's freestyle skier Eileen Gu has been described as the face of the Winter Olympics. Pic: Getty

Gu’s sponsors in America include Red Bull, Cadillac, Beats by Dre headphones and Victoria’s Secret, however those endorsement deals are nothing compared to what she has garnered in China.

She reportedly has over 20 endorsement deals in her adopted country, including Bank of China, China Mobile and milk company Mengniu.

According to, Gu earns about $2.5 million from every deal.

“She’s going to be as big as Yao Ming was,” said publicist Jeff Ruffolo. “These Olympics are going to be her NBA.”

Michael Payne, former marketing chief of the International Olympic Committee, cited China's aim to get 300 million people involved in winter sports when he described the opportunity for Gu as unprecedented.

With another gold medal still in the offing, her closely scrutinised decision to compete for China appears to be paying off - commercially at least.

with agencies

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