SPORTS China's Gu Ailing makes X Games history with record 3-medal debut


China's Gu Ailing makes X Games history with record 3-medal debut


16:24, February 01, 2021

Gu Ailing of China celebrates with the medals she won at X Games Aspen at Buttermilk Mountain, Colorado, January 30, 2021. (Photo: CFP)

Eileen Gu, also known by her Chinese name, Gu Ailing, stunned the freeski world by grabbing a second gold on Saturday, giving her three medals in three events, a never-before-equaled feat for a first-time performer in Winter X Games history.

Gu, 17, led the field from start to finish Saturday in the women's slopestyle final, with seemingly effortless runs that put her ahead of the UK's Isabel Atkin and Canadian Megan Oldham, the silver and bronze medalists, respectively.

"This is something I wouldn't even dream of," an ecstatic Gu told the media after her second gold. "I came into this contest with the goal of one podium, and I thought that was ambitious," she said.

On Friday, Gu started her 24-hour three-medal marathon with a bronze in the women's ski Big Air competition, but before the first day of the 20th annual Aspen X Games was over, she had grabbed gold in the women's ski Superpipe, taking out the 2018 Winter Olympic gold medalist Canadian Cassie Sharpe in the process.

Gu Ailing of China competes in the X Games Aspen women's ski slopestyle final at Buttermilk Mountain, Colorado, January 30, 2021.

Gu, born in California and now competing for China, credited her stellar performance to "the adrenaline of my first X Games," and "45-minute power naps" she took between practicing and competition, to carry her through a rigorous 24-hour regimen.

With a Chinese mother and American father, Gu made the call to compete for China in 2019, with her eyes fixed on next year's 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, her mother's hometown.

After that, Gu plans to attend Stanford University, thanks to her 1,580 SAT score out of a possible 1,600, and a long list of additional achievements.

Fluent in both Mandarin and English, Gu is also an accomplished pianist and fashion model, and returned from China last week where she modeled clothes for a photo shoot, according to her Facebook page.

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