Ailing (Eileen) Gu reveals: How I am dealing with the pressure at Beijing 2022 

Ailing (Eileen) Gu is rocking the Beijing Olympics and it's all eyes on her, so how does she deal with the pressure? "Piano, meditation, and really long showers" she tells Olympics.com.

3 min By Ken Browne +Katie Bailey
Gold medallist Ailing Eileen Gu of Team China poses with their medal during the Women's Freestyle Skiing Freeski Big Air medal ceremony on Day 4 of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at Beijing Medal Plaza on February 08, 2022 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Picture by 2022 Getty Images)

Ailing (Eileen) Gu is already an Olympic gold medallist at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games after she won a historic first ever Olympicbig air freestyle skiing competition.

And she isn't finished yet.

Already one of the brightest stars of the Beijing Games, it's all eyes on her as she aims for two more podiums in freeski slopestyle and halfpipe.

There is a lot of pressure and expectations on her. How does she handle it all?

"I’m a very introverted person naturally so I do a lot of journalling, I do a lot of self-reflection. I play piano a lot. I actually have a keyboard here with me," she tells Olympics.com.

"It’s really small but I just have it in my room so I play it and compose stuff at night. I take really long showers, I meditate.

"All of those things to kind of just keep to myself and stay in my own head as opposed to listening to all these voices who you know, 90% of the time don’t know what they’re talking about so…"

Gu also has a lot of support, millions of fans and people who understand her, like mom Yan Gu, and friend and fellow Beijing 2022 gold medallist who knows a thing or two about pressure too: Chloe Kim.

Eileen Gu Parents

Gu may have been born in San Francisco, California, the United States, but she has deep connections with Beijing.

Her mother was born and studied there for one, she's also spent a lot of time there and has learned fluent mandarin - with a Beijing accent.

Her father is American but Gu was raised by her Chinese mother and grandmother, speaking mandarin much of the time while growing up.

Gu has won the hearts of tens of millions of Chinese people with her heroic Olympic feats on the snow, but also because she has embraced her Chinese roots and culture, they love her 北京话 (Beijing hua) - that distinctive accent you hear on the streets of the Chinese capital.

Now she's loving her time at the Beijing Games.

"This Olympics is everything I could have dreamed of and more," she continues to Olympics.com.

"For one, being surrounded by the Beijing accent and hearing Chinese again is really refreshing, because of COVID I’ve not been able to be back here as much as I would have liked to, as much as I’m used to."

She's everywhere: Ailing Eileen Gu looks out from an advertisement on the street in China. (Photo by Getty Images)
She's everywhere: Ailing Eileen Gu looks out from an advertisement on the street in China. (Photo by Getty Images) (2022 Getty Images)

The best thing about being in Beijing? The dumplings (Of course) and the fans

What else is she enjoying?

"The food for sure… I’ve been eating dumplings for every meal that they’re available… I’ve just been sessioning them… they’re so good.

"And then just the support from the fans and the crowd.

"It’s a COVID Olympics and yet there’s so many people that are out here cheering. I heard the volunteers have to quarantine, the spectators have to quarantine so you know it’s work for them too, and the fact that they’re willing to be out here just to support me and support the rest of the field… I’m really honoured."

Olympic gold medallist, admitted to Stanford, model, social media star, is there anything Eileen Gu can’t do?

"I’m really messy," she says.

"My mum says it’s my worst quality – that I don’t make my bed the way she wants me to... but I’m just going to sleep on it anyway, if I just put all my clothes in a general vicinity I’ll find them, it’s fine.

"I’m not the most organised person. As I go to college that’s definitely something I need to work on!"

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