Chinese skier Gu Ailing wins historic silver medal at Beijing 2022
Published: Feb 15, 2022 03:45 PM
Chinese skier Gu Ailing wins a sliver medal at the women's freeski slopestyle final on Tuesday. Photo: Cui Meng/GT

Chinese skier Gu Ailing wins a sliver medal at the women's freeski slopestyle final on Tuesday. Photo: Cui Meng/GT

Talented Chinese skier Gu Ailing surprised audiences by earning the second highest score of 86.23 while under heavy pressure during the third round of the women's freeski slopestyle final on Tuesday. The score won her a precious silver medal, a first for China in the event.  

"I really wanted to get on the podium, so I was happy and relieved when the third jump landed… I'm also very happy to be able to show the possibilities of the sport under pressure," she told CCTV after the event. 

Countless congratulations quickly flooded Chinese social media. The hashtag that "Gu Ailing won a silver medal" topped the trending list on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo with 490 million views. 

The General Administration of Sport of China also sent a congratulatory letter to Gu on Tuesday, noting that "this is the first medal for a Chinese athlete participating in the freeski slopestyle final during the Winter Olympic Games. This is a breakthrough achievement in the sport."

The 18-year-old once again captured Chinese netizens' hearts with her strong mental fortitude and her bearing as she sincerely congratulated the gold medal winner, Swiss athlete Mathilde Gremaud. 

"Her ability to adapt mentally can really be studied as a course," one Chinese netizen wrote on Sina Weibo.

During the second run, when most of the athletes had adapted to the environment and gradually reached superb levels, Gu fell, causing her ranking to slip from 3rd to 8th. This put her under immense pressure during the third round, as she may have lost her chance at a medal if she didn't perform better. In the end, however, the young athlete pulled through.

"I was not in the right state during the first two runs. After the first run, I had a conversation with my mother, and she told me to pretend that the second run was the third run, and that there was no more chances later. I tried it, but it didn't work out well… But when it came to the real third run, I made it and I was proud of myself," she said in the CCTV interview, adding that she planned to eat sweet black-sesame yuanxiao (a ball-shaped dessert made of glutinous rice flour usually filled with sweet pastes of various kinds, including black sesame) during the Lantern Festival which falls on Tuesday in 2022 as the traditional food is her favorite for the holiday.

"I wish you a happy Lantern Festival. Spend the festival with your family, and do what you like and make you happy."

The Lantern Festival, which falls on the 15th day of the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar, is a time when Chinese get together and celebrate it during the first full moon. 

"The Lantern Festival is a day for family reunion. Around such a festival with beautiful meanings, Ailing won another medal for us, which is even more joyful," another netizen wrote on Sina Weibo.

On Thursday, Gu will compete against other athletes in the Women's Freeski Halfpipe Qualification, an event in which she excels. 

Gu noted that she was very excited for the event as her grandmother plans to come and watch her compete and this would be the first time that her grandmother had watched an event at the Winter Games. 

"I love Women's Freeski Halfpipe. It is a lot of fun for me," she said, noting that she hopes she performs well.