When you watched even only a tiny little bit of NBC’s programming of the 2022 Winter Olympics, you’ll have seen the community fawn over Freestyle Skier Eileen Gu who was born and grew up in the USA, however represents China. Eileen was the proper star for the 2022 Olympics. Resulting from her background, she appealed to followers in each China and the USA. However most significantly, Eileen Gu was a confirmed winner.
Eileen might have received two Olympic gold medals on the 2022 Winter Olympics and was one of the vital extensively promoted athletes amongst the media throughout Beijing-2022. However regardless of that, I’m of the idea that Eileen Gu is extremely underrated. Regardless of how loopy it sounds to explain a 2x Olympic gold medalist who’s now a family title as “underrated,” I’m of the idea that even Olympic superstars can nonetheless fall sufferer to having the importance of what they completed go largely unrealized to most people at massive.
On this article I’m going to speak about how Eileen Gu’s efficiency in 2022 was much better than the outcomes truly counsel.
She competed in three occasions
Freestyle Snowboarding technically has six occasions within the Olympics, however the sport is way simpler to know in the event you deal with three of these occasions (Huge Air, Slopestyle, and Halfpipe) as a separate breakaway sport. I personally desire calling them the “2nd era” occasions. These occasions are totally different from the remainder of freestyle snowboarding in that they’re comparatively new to the Olympic motion having been added to this system from 2014-2022. In addition they have a special origin having been created because of the direct affect of snowboarding occasions and the X-Video games. The older or “historic” Freestyle Snowboarding occasions emerged from throughout the Worldwide Ski Federation and its World Championships.
However what makes the 2nd era occasions most original is that they don’t make the most of a clock. Earlier than their introduction in 2014, each present freestyle snowboarding occasion had a racing element to it the place athletes weren’t solely making an attempt to carry out tough abilities to impress the judges, however snowboarding down the course as quick as attainable to additional enhance their level whole with a low time.
The 2nd era freestyle snowboarding occasions are extra like gymnastics the place the target is solely on the acrobatic stunts being carried out within the air. However the single largest purpose 2nd era freestyle snowboarding needs to be considered its personal separate spinoff is how interchangeable these three occasions are. Huge Air, Slopestyle, and Halfpipe have achieved a level of overlap with one another as these occasions usually entice the identical athletes. One thing that’s unparalleled within the conventional Freestyle Snowboarding occasions.
Whereas it will be correct to say athletes do attempt their hand at multiple occasion within the 2nd-generation occasions, it solely happens in restricted circumstances. For instance, Huge Air and Slopestyle usually have practically similar begin lists, however most members in halfpipe hardly ever add a second occasion to their program. And nobody, if ever, is loopy sufficient to compete in all three occasions without delay.
To compete in three totally different occasions (Huge Air, Slopestyle, and Halfpipe) requires dividing your restricted coaching time throughout three totally different occasions, in addition to taking over a big bodily load that requires further endurance. This is able to be a formidable process even in gymnastics, but when a gymnast needs to attempt bars, beam, and ground, all she has to do is practice inside a gymnasium the place every bit of apparatus isn’t any additional than 30 second stroll away.
Huge Air, Slopestyle, and Halfpipe requires three separate constructions that solely probably the most elite coaching places on the planet present entry to all three sorts of amenities in a single setting. And except they’re serviced by the very same chairlift, it’s not the identical convivence as a gymnast who’s coaching bars and beam. And bear in mind, it is a winter sport the place the amenities are solely out there throughout the Winter months of the yr.
In all the ladies’s competitors, just one different athlete was loopy sufficient to attempt competing in all three occasions alongside Eileen Gu. The athlete in query was the exceptional Kelly Sildaru who I as soon as described “probably the most proficient athlete in all the 2022 Video games.” The reason is, her junior profession was legendary and Kelly was a toddler prodigy from the age of seven. Sildaru’s capacity to seem in all three occasions was a sign of her immense expertise, and Eileen being the one different athlete to hitch her is why I maintain the duo in excessive regard.
I anticipated each Kelly and Eileen to dominate the 2022 Olympics, however I didn’t count on their “rivalry” to be so lopsided. Each athletes competed in all three occasions, however the outcomes had been as adopted.
Not solely was it nearly unparalleled for an athlete to compete in all three occasions, however Eileen merely qualifying to the finals in all three occasions was an absurd accomplishment in itself. Not one competitor within the subject appeared within the finals of all three occasions. Eileen Gu was already working at an ordinary that nobody had but achieved, after which she raised these requirements even larger by successful a medal in every of the three occasions.
She nearly swept the gold medals
Eileen Gu went gold-silver-gold in her three occasions. However her silver medal was practically a gold medal. Eileen Gu misplaced the gold medal in Slopestyle by solely 0.33 factors. To place that in perspective, the hole between silver and bronze was 2.83 factors whereas the hole between bronze and 4th place was 6.55 factors. All that was standing in the best way between Eileen Gu and a complete sweep in her class of occasions was one of many closet margin of defeats in all the 2022 Video games.
Not solely had Eileen Gu narrowly misplaced the Slopestyle occasion, however it was arguably probably the most aggressive and star-studded podium in all the historical past of the game. Throughout all six occasions in ladies’s freestyle snowboarding, there are solely three situations of an athlete who’s a 3x Olympic medalist. Certainly one of them was Eileen Gu who took silver in Slopestyle. One other was Mathilde Gremaud, the athlete who narrowly edged her out for the gold medal.
After which there was Kelly Sildaru, who received a bronze in Slopestyle and completed in 4th place in one other of her occasions. Sildaru’s stat line might not look spectacular by gymnastics requirements, however by Freestyle Snowboarding requirements it was historic.
In all the historical past of freestyle snowboarding, from its Olympic debut to the latest Video games, in each single occasion whatever the “conventional” vs “2nd-generation” occasions distinction, when each the boys’s and ladies’s outcomes, there are solely three examples in Freestyle Snowboarding of an athlete ending 4th or higher in two totally different Olympic occasions.
The three athletes in query had been the identical three athletes who completed 1st, 2nd, and third in 2022 Ladies’s Slopestyle.
This statistic measures profession accomplishment, as in, no different athlete in addition to these three even recorded a top-4 end in Occasion-A and got here again 4 years later and produced the same end in Occasion-B. Mathilde Gremaud, Kelly Sildaru and Eileen Gu every completed it in solely a single Olympics. Eileen Gu successfully did it twice-over along with her three-medal efficiency. Mathilde Gremaud and Eileen Gu are the one Freestyle Skiers to ever win a number of medals in a single Olympics, male or feminine.
In different phrases, the one option to beat Eileen Gu in 2022 was to pit her towards the hardest opposition within the historical past of the game, and even then, it nonetheless required Eileen Gu dropping the gold medal by solely the narrowest of margins.
She performs with ice in her veins
Most of the all-time greats in sports activities historical past are extremely regarded for performing properly beneath strain. Eileen Gu took this to the extremes. Elieen Gu carried out on three occasions on the 2022 Olympics and through two of them, she delivered an incredible “come from behind” end.
It began throughout her first occasion, “Huge Air.” Coming into her closing run Eileen Gu was in third place. It was her final likelihood to win a gold medal and if Eileen Gu failed on this run, that will be it. However Eileen Gu’s efficiency was something however. On her closing run with a gold medal not but secured, Eileen Gu produced one of many highest scores of the night time and propelled herself from third to 1st place.
Then in her second occasion, “Slopestyle” Eileen Gu discovered herself in the very same situation. Coming into her closing run Eileen was in eighth place, seemingly out of medal competition and if she failed on this final try, Gu would stroll away and not using a medal. As soon as once more, when the strain and stakes had been at its most intense, Eileen produced one of many highest scores of the night time and propelled herself from eighth to 2nd.
When it was time to compete in her closing occasion “Halfpipe” there was no likelihood of Eileen having to carry out one other come from behind end. This has historically been Gu’s most dominant occasion and he or she wiped the ground with the opposition on the 2022 Olympics. The halfpipe could be a 2-round occasion and in her first run (spherical), Eileen produced the very best rating of anybody within the subject. As the highest qualifier Eileen Gu could be performing final.
Even after each different competitor took their two runs, nobody had surpassed Eileen Gu’s high rating from the opening spherical. By this level, Eileen Gu was the mathematical winner of the occasion and had achieved the very best rating in all the competitors. Regardless of this, Eileen Gu carried out her closing run understanding the gold medal was already received.
Gu then produced a fair larger rating than earlier than.
Eileen Gu exceeded her earlier level whole with a fair larger rating on what was successfully a victory lap. Performing such a run was utterly pointless. However Eileen Gu did it for no purpose apart from self-amusement and including to her personal legacy. Within the three occasions Eileen Gu medaled in, on all three events her highest rating of the day got here in her final run.
The medal sweep within the three 2nd-generation occasions not solely legitimatized Eileen Gu as the highest Freestyle Skier of 2022, it legitimized all of her earlier outcomes. Since her debut in 2020 Eileen Gu has attended all however one main competitors that she has been eligible for. Reaching one of many highest participation charges amongst Freestyle Skiers with appearances in 4 main competitions.
Not solely did Eileen Gu attend every of those competitions, however she swept the medals in Huge Air, Slopestyle, and Halfpipe. Successfully going 4 x 3 for 12 profession medals. The competitions in query:
Eileen Gu merely doesn’t lose. She delivers in probably the most urgent moments and doesn’t get frazzled or fazed when the strain was at its most intense. Coming into Beijing-2022 there was an argument available that maybe the medals Eileen Gu received on the X-Video games, World Championships, and Youth Olympics had been the byproduct of weakened aggressive fields.
However that argument is successfully lifeless now that Eileen Gu has repeated her success on the Olympics. Proving that no matter who attended the earlier competitions, Eileen Gu was going to win. Elieen Gu is a confirmed winner who can win beneath any circumstance whereas possessing a superhuman capacity to maintain her nerves calm in each occasion of each competitors she competes in.
She switched to a fair more durable program
China is famed for being one of many dominant powers on the Summer time Olympics, however the nation has not achieved comparable success on the Winter Olympics. On the Winter Olympics China is historically a mid-level energy, nearly all the time putting between Eleventh-Twentieth within the closing medal rankings. On solely two events in its historical past has China completed contained in the top-10 of the Winter Olympics closing medal tally.
One would initially assume that by switching nationalities from the USA to China, Eileen Gu was additionally transitioning from a program the place there was much less home competitors to take care of. However that’s not the case with regard to Freestyle Snowboarding. It’s truly China’s 2nd most profitable sport on the Olympics.
In 2022 Ladies’s Halfpipe Chinese language athletes certified in positions #1, #5, and #7 whereas the Individuals certified in positions #8, #9, and #10. On the 2018 Olympics China had the #1 and #3 youngest athletes in all the Pyeongchang Video games. The 2 athletes in query (Wu Meng and Zhang Kexin) had been Halfpipe Freestyle Skiers who compete in what’s Eileen Gu’s finest occasion.
In 2018 they had been merely a pair of 15 yr olds, youthful than even Russian determine skater Alina Zagitova. That they had no viable medal prospects in 2018, however their future was on the rise. In Freestyle Snowboarding, sometimes it’s the older athletes who prevail. China additionally had a fair youthful prospect, Li Fanghui who completed in 2nd place behind Eileen Gu on the 2020 Youth Olympics.
Eileen Gu has the excellence of representing a profitable program the place the expectations are far larger, the home competitors is harder, and the younger prospects who might at some point problem her for a spot on the subsequent Olympic group are extra formidable. Eileen Gu determined to take all of this on as a result of she is just a fighter who sees any problem as an excuse to work onerous.
With regards to Eileen Gu, she is the proper embodiment of how life just isn’t honest. That some persons are naturally gifted in methods the place it’s unfair that they can achieve so many alternative issues without delay. Eileen Gu is among the most versatile athletes within the historical past of her sport whereas concurrently being probably the most dominant medal winner it has ever skilled. Her athletic expertise is greater than anybody can hope to realize, and to high it off Eileen is intellectually gifted as properly.
She scored a near-perfect 1580 on her SAT, gained early acceptance to Stanford, and graduated from highschool in solely three years. The one time Eileen Gu has ever missed a serious competitors for a high-level senior meet was attributable to tutorial causes. If ever there was an athlete who can succeed at something, it’s Eileen Gu.