Ailing (Eileen) Gu is writing a book: From Olympic shredder to best-seller? "It's about having fun, breaking boundaries, creating miracles" 

Gu has already written a new page of Olympic history at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, now she's hoping to write another winner about her family and upbringing and how she became double Olympic champ.

By Olympics
Picture by 2022 Getty Images

Ailing (Eileen) Gu rewrote the Olympic freestyle ski record books by making three podiums at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games - the first to ever to it.

The biggest breakout star of the Games completed a sensational Olympic debut and she did it in front of an adoring crowd in Beijing, handling the pressure and competing in Chinese colours.

Born and raised between California and Beijing, Gu chose to represent China, where her mother was born, saying she wanted to inspire a generation of Chinese girls and give them a role model.

“The opportunity to inspire millions of young people where my mom was born, during the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help to promote the sport I love,” she wrote on her Instagram page where she has a following approaching a million and a half.

“Through skiing, I hope to unite people, promote common understanding, create communication, and forge friendships between nations.

"If I can help inspire a young girl to break a boundary, my wishes will have come true.”

Gu has broken down boundaries on and off the snow and now she wants to write a book about her life and her upbringing, in a bid to inspire people further with her personal story of growing up between two cultures.

How she sees it as an opportunity for unity and not division.

“I’m writing a book," she said in her final press conference at Beijing 2022.

"I've been writing diaries for years because I knew that the way I grew up was different, interesting and special, I’d like to share it with everyone in the future," she said.

Eileen Gu Family

Born on 3 September 2003 to a Chinese mother and an American father, Gu was raised by her mother Gu Yan and her grandmother Feng Guozhen.

Mom came to the U.S. to study in Stanford and worked for investment banks in the United States and as a venture capitalist between California and China.

Raising Eileen as a single mother, granny was a big influence in her life, and a young Eileen spoke Mandarin at home, picking up that strong Beijing accent from both her mother and her grandmother.

Eileen spent a lot of time in China, perfecting her Chinese and falling in love with the food, she often talks about 'sessioning dumplings' and how much she loves the food - something that has endeared her even more to the Chinese public.

Eileen Gu grandmother

But while she's won over the people in China, convincing her grandmother that her skiing was more than just 'having fun' before she settles down and gets a 'real job' was a much harder task.

"She thinks I'm doing it for fun," Gu said before winning her second gold medal of the Games on the halfpipe, and that granny wants her to "go be a doctor or a lawyer later."

Maybe granny changed her mind after watching her in Friday's final?

Maybe. But Gu didn't think so beforehand: "She's going to be unfazed and unimpressed, I think."

"She'll want me to win for sure; she's very competitive. More than anything, she'll be like, 'Why's everyone crowded around you? What's the big deal?'" Gu said, according to news agency AFP.

Eileen Gu is writing a book: "It's about having fun, breaking boundaries, creating miracles"

But for now, Gu is thinking about turning a lifetime of diaries into a book about her life.

"I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned that before, that I’m writing a book now," she said in her final Beijing 2022 press conference on 18 February.

"It’s about playing, having fun, dealing with pressure, breaking boundaries, creating miracles and sharing with everyone," she said.

What's next for Ailing Eileen Gu?

Already admitted to Stanford University where her mother studied, Gu's only just getting started.

The ski superstar is the first ever to win three medals in three different freestyle skiing disciplines at an Olympic Winter Games, after claiming halfpipe and big air gold, and silver in slopestyle.

Balancing that elite ski career with an Ivy league education, the fame, all the sponsorship and modelling commitments is next up, but she's already proved she can handle the workload - and the pressure.

And the next Olympic Winter Games are only four years away at Milano-Cortina 2026 where she'll be 22 years old.

The future's bright for Ailing (Eileen) Gu.


Olympic Winter Games news. Curated highlights. Personalised updates.