China bets on US-born athletes to win gold medal at Beijing Olympics

Bay area-born freestyle skier Eileen Gu crashed the Chinese internet after winning a Chinese gold medal in his debut at the Beijing Winter Olympics.

“The future is bright” for Gu and her teammates, reading a February 8 letter from China’s Winter Sports Management Center and congratulating them for winning China’s first snow gold medal. “We will get greater glory for the party and the people,” the letter urged the team.

At Sina Weibo, like Twitter in China, praise from Chinese fans for the 18-year-old champion temporarily overloaded the site.

“Father of Harvard University, mother of Peking University, mother of Stanford University, grandmother of athletes, she herself is beautiful and stylish,” said one post shared 115,000 times.

The reception to Gu contrasts with the rigorous scrutiny felt by figure skater Zhu Yi, who abandoned American citizenship in 2018 and changed her name from Beverly to Yi to compete for China.

Zhu Yi
Zhu Yi of China will participate in the women’s short program team’s figure skating competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing on February 6, 2022. (AP Photo / Natacha Pisarenko)

Born in California, just one year older than Gu, Zhu fell into performance for two consecutive days, knocking the Chinese team from 3rd to 5th at a team event, then crying and being ridiculed on Chinese social media. rice field.

“Stop crying, I want to cry too,” wrote a Chinese Weibo user. Some others tricked her into speaking Chinese and she told her to “go back to America.”

Gu and Zhu are one of dozens of athletes born and raised in North America, and Beijing has joined to boost the success of the Olympics across the field, including historically weak sports. If the performance of the hired athlete does not meet expectations, it can be unforgiving.

Recruitment was probably the most prominent on the ice hockey team. On the ice hockey team, 28 of the 48 male and female players are foreign-born and 6 have no Chinese heritage.

Everyone played under the Chinese name, including Kunlun Red Star, the son of Chris Chelios, the Hockey Hall of Fame, and a Chinese-owned team in the Russian Continental Hockey League, and Jake Chelios, the defense who spent the last three seasons. I am. In China, he is known as Jieke Kailiaosi (Chinese transliteration of his name).

“What’s my new name? I love it. It’s cool. It’s part of the experience. Everything is new to me because I’m here and it’s an exciting part of playing abroad,” Cheerios said. Said during Saturday practice.

He admitted that his Chinese vocabulary consisted only of “two or three words.” “I learned Spanish for six years in high school. I couldn’t even learn it, so I didn’t even try,” he said.

When Vancouver-born goalkeeper Kimberly Newell played the role of Zhou Jiayi and had her aide speak during a Sunday press appearance, saying “I wasn’t allowed to speak English.” , A nasty moment has arrived. According to her biography of her Olympics, Zhou, whose mother was born in China, is fluent in English, Mandarin and French.

Beijing Olympic Ice Hockey
Chinese goalkeeper Zhou Jiayi wore a helmet during the women’s hockey match in the qualifying round against Denmark at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing on February 4, 2022. (Petr David Josek / AP Photo)

The aide had to turn around several times during the translation.

Gu, who is now China’s largest Olympic star, also noted that she was open to the public.

At a press conference after winning on Tuesday, Gu avoided half a dozen questions as to whether she was still a US citizen, given that China did not allow dual citizenship.

“I definitely feel as if I’m American as much as I’m Chinese. I’m American when I’m in the US and Chinese when I’m in China,” the reporter said. Gu said when pressed twice. She emphasized that she uses sport as “cohesion” rather than “division.” This is a line that reflects the story Beijing used to dispel external criticism.

Freestyle Skiing-Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Day 4
Team China’s Ailing Eileen Gu takes a trick ahead of the women’s freestyle skiing freeski big air final on the fourth day of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics at the Big Air Shougang in Beijing, China on February 8, 2022. I will do it. (JustinSetterfield / Getty images)

“This is the problem. I’m not trying to make anyone happy. I’m an 18 year old girl here and have a great life. It’s like I’m having a great time.” She said, “don’t waste it.” [her] The time to soothe one, uneducated, two people will probably never experience such joy and gratitude.

“If people don’t believe me, and people don’t like me, it’s their loss, they’ll never win the Olympics,” she said.

When the reporter tried to investigate again, the moderator intervened by saying, “Please ask the next question.”

Among the spectators watching Goo on Tuesday was Peng Shuai, a tennis player. After disappearing from the public eye for a few weeks following a November social media post claiming to have been sexually assaulted by Chinese officials, Peng, whose happiness has aroused international concerns, said the White Olympic Ring. The Chinese flag wore a black knit beanie in a black jacket. She applauded frequently, sometimes nodding and waving at the camera.

Freestyle Skiing-Women's Freeskiing Big Air-Finals-Run 3
China’s Peng Shuai, wearing a face mask, will watch the women’s freeski big air final in Beijing, China on February 8, 2022. (FabrizioBensch / Reuters)

International organizations and officials continue to be concerned about Peng’s safety and well-being, despite her reappearance, believing that her appearance and statement are tightly controlled by Chinese authorities. Earlier this week, Penn withdrew her claim in a supervised interview with the French newspaper L’Équipe during the Olympic bubble, while at the same time announcing her retirement from sports.

When asked about Peng’s situation, Goo declined to ask, saying, “It’s a” big honor “to pay attention to small niche sports like freeskiing.”

Victory Ceremony-Freestyle Skiing-Women's Freeskiing Big Air
2022 Beijing Olympics-Victory Ceremony-Freestyle Skiing-Women’s Freeskiing Big Air-Beijing Medal Plaza, Beijing, China, February 8, 2022. Chinese gold medalist Gu Ailing Eileen celebrates on the podium. (Tyrone Siu / Reuters)

“She … yeah, happy and healthy, I’m really grateful to be here and doing her again.”

Meanwhile, Chinese authorities have not hesitated to show their love for Gu.

On Tuesday, a Chinese anti-transplant watchdog, usually not known to comment on sports, published an exclusive interview with Gu, where she talked about the design of a dragon in a ski suit. She wanted to “introduce Chinese elements to friends all over the world.”

She was “extremely excited” to wear a Chinese sports delegation gown featuring the red used on the Chinese Communist Party flag, Gu said, wearing a gown for future wear. He added that he wanted to take it home.



Eva Fu is a New York-based writer of The Epoch Times, focusing on Sino-US relations, religious freedom, and human rights. Contact Eva at [email protected]

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