As the poster child of a new breed of Chinese athlete and an athlete with sky-high aspirations – Gu was candid in saying she hoped to win medals in the three events she competed in – the pressure rode on the 18-year-old shoulders.
So Gu did what many teenagers do in times of need: she talked to her mother.
“My mom knows me very well and she knows how my brain works with pressure. I’ve done a lot of work, read a lot of psychology books, done a lot of research on my own brain to see how I handle pressure. And now , we know that I perform well below.
“So round one, round two, I wasn’t completely in the zone, if that makes sense. I wasn’t in that headspace.
“And my mom could see it, so I talked to her after the first run. She was like, ‘Pretend your second run is your third, act like you’re out of luck.’ was like, ‘I’m trying,’ but I guess my imagination isn’t so good.”
And as the saying goes, mother knows best – Gu produced a stunning final run to get back into the medal hunt, eventually finishing with a silver medal just 0.3 points behind gold medalist Mathilde Gremaud.
Gu admitted that after landing at the end of her final run of the event, she felt “relieved”.
“I felt happy,” she told the media. “I’m here to represent myself and the sport to people.
“So being able to race and show people what’s possible when you’re under pressure is another thing that I’m proud to represent. So yeah, I’m proud of myself. And I’m happy that everybody was there to witness it.
“Of course, I’m competitive. So the 0.3 points (between her and Gremaud), I’ll think about it. But it’s okay, I’m happy.”
This year’s Beijing Olympics was a watershed moment for Gu.
The American-born skier, born to a Chinese mother and American father, chose to represent China in 2015 and has seen her star soar since the start of what is for her the Olympic Games in home winter.
His face is pasted across Chinese cities on billboards and magazine covers and featured in pre-Olympic promotional videos showing Gu performing tricks in the air and running on the Great Wall.
A gold medal in the women’s big air freeskiing event only cemented Gu’s legend, and she arguably became one of the biggest stars of the Games.
On Monday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) removed a description of Gu having dual citizenship from its website after CNN raised a question about inconsistencies in the gold medalist’s citizenship status on the IOC’s website.
According to IOC website records, one page described Gu as having dual citizenship while his biography page stated that Gu had “gave up his US citizenship for Chinese citizenship” in 2019 in order to complete for China, even if ‘there is no public folder. to show that Gu has renounced his American citizenship.
In its updated webpages, the IOC removed a description of Gu having dual citizenship and changed the line saying she had “renounced her US citizenship” to “in 2019 she made the decision to compete for China”.
In response to CNN’s investigation into Gu’s conflicting description of citizenship, the IOC said Gu acquired her “Chinese citizenship” in 2019 and submitted a copy of her Chinese passport, so she is “fully eligible.” to represent China during the Beijing Winter 2022. Olympic Games.
Chinese law does not recognize dual nationality and states that naturalized Chinese “do not retain foreign nationality” after being granted Chinese citizenship.
Gu repeatedly dodged questions from reporters about her citizenship status after winning gold in the women’s big air competition for China.
“When I’m in China, I’m Chinese. When I’m in the United States, I’m American,” she said.
Yong Xiong in Seoul contributed to this report.