Eileen Gu Wins Gold, Makes History

The skier won women's halfpipe
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 17, 2022 11:14 PM CST
Eileen Gu Wins Gold, Makes History
Canada's Cassie Sharpe competes during the women's halfpipe finals at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 18, 2022, in Zhangjiakou, China.   (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

(Newser) – Even when Eileen Gu’s simply taking a celebratory stroll through the halfpipe, she’s still so stylish and makes it look so effortless. The 18-year-old American-born freestyle skier who represents China captured Olympic gold in the women’s halfpipe on a breezy and cold Friday morning to become the first action-sports athlete to pick up three medals at the same Winter Games, the AP reports. With hands on her hips, Gu visualized her first two runs at the top of the Secret Garden halfpipe course. Then, she flawlessly executed her plan. She warmed up with a 93.25 on her first pass before going even higher and bigger to post a 95.25 on her second.

But this was the sort of run Gu visualized all along—a nice relaxed jaunt as the last competitor and with the contest sealed. She had fun with her victory run, too, going big off the walls one last time and bending back her skis—a high-flying, picture-perfect moment to culminate another successful day at her office. “I feel at peace. I feel grateful. I feel proud,” Gu said. "Skiing is all about fun and individuality and being able to express yourself and find that flow, and for myself I really find that in halfpipe. Being able to feel the rhythm of the walls, and being able to put unique grabs, to try different axis, spin different directions—it’s really fun and it’s the essence of the sport.”

It's another medal for Gu as she adds to her gold from big air and silver from slopestyle. Defending Olympic champion Cassie Sharpe of Canada was second with a score of 90.75. She threw a pair of impressive 1080s and said after the result: “I'll take it.” She's just a little over a year removed from suffering a torn ligament in her knee. Sharpe's teammate, Rachael Karker, took bronze. Teenager Hanna Faulhaber was the top American finisher in sixth place. The temperature hovered around 3 degrees Fahrenheit with an 11mph wind and plenty of gusts. Like on Gu's second run when the wind struck right when she was sailing through the air, a plume of snow blowing behind her. It didn't seem to bother her. Nothing has.

(Read more 2022 Beijing Olympics stories.)

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