Beijing claims Eileen Gu as a daughter after golden day for China at Winter Olympics

BEIJING: Teenager Eileen Gu nailed a new trick in the final run of the freeski Big Air on Tuesday (Feb 8), delivering host nation China its quickest gold rush at a Winter Games.

The Chinese capital claimed the San Francisco-born Gu as a daughter of Beijing after she pulled off an impressive "1620", a trick she had never done before in competition, to beat French skier Tess Ledeux.

The 18-year-old said that she would celebrate by eating a chocolate bar by San Francisco confectioner Ghirardelli, play the piano and write in her journal before getting back to practice ahead of her slopestyle event on Feb 14.

"I brought a package of holiday-themed peppermint bark Ghirardelli chocolate, so I'm going to open that today. I've been saving it for my first final. It's kind of an exciting moment," she told reporters.

Gu's gold, along with podium-topping performances by speed skater Ren Ziwei and his mixed team relay compatriots, put China temporarily at the top of the medal tally on Tuesday.

The country has won three golds and two silver medals since the opening ceremony last Friday night.

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Other glittering performances on the slopes and ice included a showing from Austrian Matthias Mayer, who became the first man to win an alpine skiing gold at three consecutive Games after claiming the super-G title.

American Nathan Chen shocked Japan's "Ice Prince" Yuzuru Hanyu with a world record in the figure skating short programme, giving him a massive lead in their battle for the gold medal.

Despite enormous obstacles created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Beijing's snow spectacle has triggered an early gold rush for winter sports goods in China, with online purchases of equipment and clothing from brands such as Anta Sports and Descente surging.

Olympic fever has even spread to China's stock market, with a buying frenzy unleashed on shares linked to the Games.

Organisers on Tuesday said that more local spectators would be invited to watch, in a show of confidence that COVID-19 is under control within the closed loop that separates Games personnel from the Chinese public.

Artmotion Asia

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