Eileen Gu won her first Olympic gold medal in Tuesday's women's freestyle skiing big air event.
The San Francisco native then addressed "uneducated" opinions about her choice to compete for China.
"If people don't like me, then that's their loss," Gu said. "They're never going to win the Olympics."
Eileen Gu isn't going to expend any energy on her haters — especially the "uneducated."
She's too busy chasing gold-medal glory.
The 18-year-old freestyle skier won her first Olympic gold medal thanks to a stunning, come-from-behind victory in Tuesday's women's freestyle skiing big air final at the 2022 Beijing Olympics. On her final run of the event, Gu threw down a double cork 1620 for the first time in competition to overtake France's Tess Ledeux on top of the podium.
After the impressive performance, Gu — who was born and raised in San Francisco but is competing on behalf of Team China — took a bow for the home crowd.
Americans have criticized the 2021 World Champion in halfpipe and slopestyle for choosing the host nation over Team USA. Gu's mother was born and raised in Beijing and moved to the United States in her 20s to pursue higher education.
Gu herself says she spent "25 to 30% of every year" in China growing up. She's fluent in Mandarin and English, and she's familiar with both Chinese and American culture.
In other words, and as she said in her post-event press conference, "I'm just as American as I am Chinese."
"I'm American when I'm in the US, and I'm Chinese when I'm in China," Gu added, per CNN. "I have been very outspoken about my gratitude to both the US and China for making me the person I am."
"My mission is to use sport as a force for unity, to use it as a form to foster interconnection between countries, and not use it as a divisive force," she continued. "That benefits everyone, and if you disagree with that, then that's someone else's problem."
Still, plenty of people have questioned her motives and expressed their distaste for Gu in response to her decision.
And to that, Gu has a simple response:
"Here's the thing — I'm not trying to keep anyone happy," Gu said. "I'm an 18-year-old girl living my best life. I'm having a great time. It doesn't really matter if other people are happy or not."
Gu appears to have made peace with the fact that some people will dislike her no matter what she says or does. Besides, she has far more adoring fans than she can count; she even broke the internet in China after Tuesday's gold-medal win.
She insisted that she's "not gonna waste my time trying to placate people" who don't take the time to really listen to what she has to say or educate themselves on the issues at hand.
"If people don't believe me or if people don't like me, then that's their loss," Gu said. "They're never going to win the Olympics, so."
Gu still has two more events left on her Olympic slate. She's set to compete in the women's slopestyle and women's halfpipe events later in the games, and as the reigning World Champion in each discipline, she's a top medal contender for both.
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