ESPN honored American freestyle skier Eileen Gu with an ESPY for “Breakout Athlete,” after her two gold medal wins at the 2022 Winter Olympics, despite the fact that she won them for China.
Gu, a San Francisco native with plans to attend Stanford University in the fall, competed for her mother’s home country China during the Beijing Games and raked in an enormous amount of endorsement cash after refusing to represent the United States.
China doesn’t permit dual citizenship for adults 18 and over, but Gu has not disclosed her own citizenship status, maintaining that “When I’m in China, I’m Chinese and when I go to America, I’m American,” in interviews.
After winning three medals at the Olympics, Eileen Gu takes home the prize at the @ESPYS 🏆 pic.twitter.com/vFG1l0dJd4
— ESPN (@espn) July 21, 2022
“I have always said I want to be an ambassador for freeskiing, especially for young girls in the sport. I also want to share this moment with all the incredible pioneering female athletes who have come before me who paved the way for people like me. Many of which are in the room right now,” Gu gushed while accepting the award.
“Also to the young girls who will come after me and who are going to be the change-makers and who are going to push it one more step further closer to equality,” she added, before thanking her mother and grandmother, then concluding her speech in Chinese.
I’d rather see the #Uyghur people be (as you said) … “one step closer to equality,” one Twitter critic remarked about China’s genocide of the Turkic Muslims.
“Lol just had a US veteran receive the Pat Tillman award, and then precede[d] to give an award to a[n] athlete who chose to represent China over the US when she grew up in LA. Classic ESPN,” wrote one viewer.
“She did it for the most American of reasons…..to make a s–tload of money,” commented a replier.
ESPN was panned for passing up nominees Ja Morant, Jonathan Taylor and Trinity Rodman, for Gu. “They gave the award to someone who wanted to compete for China rather [than] the United States,” one person pointed out.
“ESPN bending the knee yet again. Predicted this from a mile away,” someone said. “Who could’ve seen it coming that ESPN would suck up to the CCP?” Another blasted.
“The perfect athlete for ESPN,” a commenter concluded.
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