We’ve all heard the recent news of Eileen Gu, the gold medallist for the freestyle skiing event this Olympic. But who is she, and who is the woman she attributes her success to?
Still dressed in her black ski jumpsuit with gold dragon motifs, her dark hair pulled into a bun with two blonde streaks framing her face, newly minted Big Air gold medallist Eileen Gu was polished and media-savvy at her first post-event press conference of the Winter Olympics.
Faced with a room of international journalists, the 19-year-old held court like a seasoned professional, offering her thoughts on a range of questions, including six different attempts to find out what her nationality actually is.
Her eloquent answers, while a stark contrast to her Chinese teammates’ scripted replies, did not happen by chance.
Many of her career choices – from specialising in freestyle skiing to her surprise move to represent China in the Games – stemmed from her mother Gu Yan.
The 58-year-old single mother, who is also an avid skier, is her daughter’s bodyguard, manager and biggest cheerleader all in one.
Never far from the effervescent teenager, the proud mother posted videos on her YouTube account showing off her daughter’s talents. There are videos of her best competition runs, piano playing, and tellingly, a school speech from 2015.