Chances are, you hadn’t heard of Eileen Gu until this month, when the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics got underway. Gu, one of the most prominent freestyle skiing talents in the world, has mostly stayed under the radar until now. Perhaps it’s due to the continued decline in the popularity of the Olympics. Or maybe, it’s due to the mainstream media’s inability to figure out how to spin her story in order to match their left-wing narrative.
Gu’s story is fascinating, yet shockingly, not completely unique.
In 2019, the American 18-year-old elected to spurn her home country and represent China — her mother’s native country — in the 2022 Winter Olympics. Gu was born and raised in San Francisco, grew up and trained in America, and took advantage of every opportunity afforded to citizens of the United States. The training and coaching she received in the States allowed her to compete at the highest level in her sport.
Gu is not the only athlete to turn her back on her country in order to represent another nation, but due to the country she now represents, it feels more egregious.
Professional tennis player Naomi Osaka is a product of the U.S., but chose to represent her birth country of Japan in her Olympic and professional career. Osaka was at least born in Japan, while still using every opportunity in the U.S. to become an elite athlete. The thing is, Japan isn’t a communist country and doesn’t completely contradict America’s values in the way China does. America is not in geopolitical war with Japan as we are with China. China’s government is one of a communist regime and an ideology that Americans would overwhelmingly denounce in the recent past.
It’s not just that we lost a shot at a medal with the loss of Gu — we are and she already has won a gold medal in the Beijing Olympics — but rather what this switch represents.
Gu represents our current culture, allowing the world to see where we are as a country. It shows that we are lost as a nation, one that has forgotten where it came from.
If you search for this story online, you’ll read headlines such as “Risk-taker Eileen Gu makes China an Olympic force on snow,” or “Eileen Gu Is Trying to Soar Over the Geopolitical Divide” from the New York Times.
In her Instagram post announcing the jump to representing China, Gu said she “hopes to unite people, promote common understanding, create communication, and forge friendships between nations.” Her decision is being romanticized, marginalizing the notion of pride in one’s home country, and completely ignoring the atrocities and human rights violations in China. Gu repeated these platitudes about bringing people together through sport during her post-medal conference, yet abandoning the country that raised you will not help those suffering from a communist and tyrannical regime, but rather further lead people into ignorance.
The Olympics used to be a time for athletes to proudly represent their country and compete in its honor. The 1980 Olympic games were the perfect example, now viewed as so much more than an athletic competition.
In 1980, the Cold War was in full effect and the Soviet Union was seen as the enemy both on and off the ice. The friction between the U.S. and the USSR was most apparent in the hockey arena, and the battle between the two superpowers was taking place on U.S. soil in Lake Placid, New York.
Patriotism had never been as palpable as it was at the semifinals game that later became known as the “Miracle on Ice.” It was a time when American athletes understood what an honor it was to compete for their country and chose to fight for what they believed in. The Olympics have always been more than just an athletic competition, they’ve been an opportunity to show pride in one’s country, to show the world all that it represents. For Americans, it’s been about displaying the power of democracy. It’s been about setting an example for the rest of the world on how democracy can create the greatest superpower in the history of the world. But Gu’s decision to represent China runs counter to that belief. It’s a slap in the face to the very country that made her who she is. The country that granted her the opportunity to compete in the Olympics.
As a culture, we now demonize what America represents, using its original sin to weaken our position on the world stage. Gu is the result of allowing that kind of rhetoric to spread. Sure, Gu’s traitorous act may be a stunt, or a way to be a bigger fish in a less athletic pond. But it doesn’t change the fact that she’s making us look like fools on the world stage.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.