beijing 2022 winter olympics

China's naturalized Olympians walk fine line between love and scorn

32 Comments
By Matthew WALSH

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The 18-year-old Gu -- known as Gu Ailing in China -- cemented herself as one of the faces of the Games by winning gold in the inaugural women's Big Air on Tuesday.

Young athletes know the key to riches and success in their relatively short careers is to follow the money and endorsements.

Eileen is smart and it is a testament to the diminishing returns of the American economic model that she chose China.

-15 ( +3 / -18 )

Young athletes know the key to riches 

Gu makes some $40 million a year total in modeling and endorsements from both countries. Good decision.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

I said in the other story, but this is disingenuous at best. Eileen Gu has said, specifically in regards to Zhu, that the majority of Chinese social media has been coming out in a supportive fashion. Yes, there’s gonna be some haters in a country that large but don’t try to make it sound like there is a monolithic agenda of hate levied at her.

Some people on Instagram criticized Gu for her frequent use of the social media app, accusing her of being oblivious to the fact that most Chinese people cannot freely access the internet, including Instagram.

Should probably include her response to these criticisms. “Anyone can download a vpn. It’s literally free on the App Store”. Unless that person is somehow a business, of course.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

If people want to. be sellout, that their business, they made the bed, let them lie in it

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Below is Eileen's response to critics of her. Not sure, but I say ditto to it. There is also a op ed piece I read somewhere that the people that really call these people traitors and money grabbers, etc are really angry not at the athletes, but at themselves, their own society, and they really need to look at themselves in the mirror and reflect why they are angry. As I say each country has their issues and I am the first to admit that China has some, but the U.S. is no angel either.

https://www.yahoo.com/sports/chinese-skiing-gold-medallist-eileen-200612112.html

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

If you're born and raised in a country that provides you with the opportunity and resources to succeed, then you loyally represent it (unless you've emigrated).

Americans are right to treat both these women with derision. Why don't they just stay in China if they love it so much?

An outright case of having one's cake and eating it too. Greed, selfishness, hypocrisy and ego, much?

-2 ( +11 / -13 )

Jefflee,as an American, they owe me nothing, I. did know they even existed, they cannot have their cake end eat it too, players switch team in America all the time, they get the same scorn in America

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

They realize that China is the future and the US is the past. Japan should do the same.

-16 ( +3 / -19 )

In my book, if you are born in a certain country, you should represent that country.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

They realize that China is the future and the US is the past. 

LOL, hilarious! If that were true, they'd embrace and live in China.

Here's the truth : they realize the size of the endorsement paychecks if they compete for China.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

@gokai_wo_maneku

They realize that China is the future and the US is the past. Japan should do the same.

Best post I read all morning! I love comedy.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

@Michael Machida

So you would be consistent about that and say the same for any athlete that has competed for America, regardless of even their citizenship, if they were born overseas?

Place of birth as the sole metric seems pretty arbitrary.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

An outright case of having one's cake and eating it too. Greed, selfishness, hypocrisy and ego, much?

I think that criticism would be better directed toward the fat cat oligopolists who maintain this socioeconomic system.

Not someone like Eileen who is using her natural gifts to hustle and thrive in it

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Marked contrast to rugby union where many players play for overseas national teams, with clear rules on qualification, and a stand-down period if they return to their home country. Soccer (football) also allows it within their own rules.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Of late China has been stating that dual citizenship is not allowed. So have these athletes renounced their American citizenship ? Lots of questions still need answering.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@Stewle

Zhu Yi has definitely revoked her citizenship yes.

Eileen Gu it is a bit more ambiguous at the moment and nobody has solid confirmation either way. It is also kind of difficult to revoke your citizenship right now, the state department isn't really hearing most denaturalization requests at the moment. Contrary to what some people think, getting rid of your citizenship isn't an easy (or cheap) process.

Purely speculative, but I would wager she is in the process of revoking it but has not completed it yet, so doesn't want to say anything. She's not timid, if it were complete one way or the other she'd probably say so. If I were in her shoes and had any doubts left, the relative attitude of both countries during the olympics would probably have sealed it for me.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

In my book, if you are born in a certain country, you should represent that country.

oh so born in the US, went to say Japan, as a baby lived all your life in Japan, only speak Japanese brought up in the J culture, but youre still American!?

oh wait sorry forgot this is Japan

Maybe Naomi Osaka should stay Ameircan, clearly doesnt look Japanese, hardly speaks Japanese,

speak and acts more like an American than japanese

3 ( +5 / -2 )

JeffLeeToday  08:18 am JST

If you're born and raised in a country that provides you with the opportunity and resources to succeed, then you loyally represent it (unless you've emigrated).

Americans are right to treat both these women with derision. Why don't they just stay in China if they love it so much?

An outright case of having one's cake and eating it too. Greed, selfishness, hypocrisy and ego, much?

So you're saying people like Osaka Naomi and Kanoa Igarashi shouldn't represent Japan?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The hypocrisy of the fake 'nation-states' is hilarious! It’s both hilarious and hypocritical to see US and Canadian commentators complaining about actual Chinese athletes competing for their nation simply because those Chinese athletes happen to have been born outside of China:

The 18-year-old US-born Chinese skier Gu Ailing, also known as Eileen Gu, was, again, bashed by US media.

Fox News host Will Cain on Wednesday called Gu out as an “ungrateful” traitor. Cain argued that it is “shameful” for the young athlete to turn her back on the US, the country that allegedly raised and turned her into a world-class skier, in exchange for money.

This is not the first time some voices in the West are taking aim at naturalized Chinese athletes. China’s first naturalized track and field athlete, Nina Schultz, known as Zheng Ninali in China, decided to give up her Canadian citizenship in 2018. However, the young lady, who is of Chinese descent, was criticized by some in Canada for her supposed indifference to “human rights violations” in China.

The irony is that most Western nations are “represented” in the Soccer World Cup and a number of Olympic events by large quantities of Africans, many of whom were not even born, and some of whom are not even resident, in the nations they supposedly represent.

Consider the “Belgian” soccer star Romelu Lukaku, who was born in Antwerp to Congolese parents. His father was an international who represented Zaire, and Lukaku has been living and working in England for most of the last decade.

Meanwhile, the Chinese are being represented by actual Chinese people, and this is somehow supposed to be controversial. As always, the inversion indicates the evil.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Get paid while you can. Good for these athletes. Olympic dream - check, and a payday for an Olympian!! - check. Good on them.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

I'm of mixed feelings.

To be honest, if the two of them were Japanese/American (or French, Canadian, Korean - whatever) I wouldn't really think it was a big deal which country they decided to represent.

But they both chose to represent and become propoganda pieces for a brutal dictatorship right in the middle of committing acts of horrible suppression in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, and threatening to attack democratic Taiwan, among other things.

Especially with Gu its hard to swallow all the inspirational BS she is spouting on the one hand, with the reality of the government she has decided to throw her lot in with on the other.

I'm not even American but I get why a lot of Americans are pissed off about that. She made a crass decision about money and now she is getting blowback for that. Its well deserved.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

> gokai_wo_manekuToday  08:38 am JST

They realize that China is the future and the US is the past. Japan should do the same.

Interesting comment......wonder what you think Japan should do then......perhaps become a Chinese province?????

5 ( +7 / -2 )

If you win, they’ll love you. If you lose, they’ll hate you. Very superficial.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

If you win, they’ll love you. If you lose, they’ll hate you. Very superficial.

Yup, everyone loves a winner. If China has better skaters, then put them on the team. No need for netizens to knock Beverly Zhu for being bi-cultural or having poor Mandarin skills. Poor girl.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Everyday Eileen

https://youtu.be/9AfD_ORAE8I

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

In recent years, the country with a population of 1.4 billion has recruited some foreign-born players to boost its national squads, notably for soccer and ice hockey.

China are by no means the only ones to do it, but the country stands out because it has minimal inward migration and bans citizens from holding dual nationalities.

Yet under President Xi Jinping, the lines appear a bit more blurred.

Dunno why the imported athletes can't just answer their citizenship - it's a yes or no question

They're either obeying Chinese law or trampling on Chinese law

And yet, China keeps saying that when you're in China, you have to follow Chinese law

So which is it - should Chinese law be respected or not?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

FarmboyFeb. 10  11:15 pm JST

Oh, I'm sure the virus will find a way to mutate and continue

That one who renounced her US citizenship in 2018 to become a Chinese citizen sold herself out. She was skating to glorify the CCP, she sold her soul to them. Then she fell on the ice while competing, she totally crapped out. Now the CCP is socially lipping off about her, shaming her.

I hate to say it but you sell yourself to a bunch of devils, you can't rely on them to back you up when you stumble. They'll throw you into the trash.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What is the material difference of representing country a or country b if it is a individual sport, if there is no maximum quota allocated to the number of athletes from the country? They both somewhat had presence in said country prior so it's not really pushing or promoting it any more. One could argue that if companies wanted to they could just promote based on the other factors that tied them to the desired country.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

One may say that you should represent the country that provide the resources and environment for your training and development, but what if the resources was from country a and environment from country b. Things just aren't so clear cut.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ah yes....Eileen Gu. As a American, it's very tiresome to hear some (not all) Asian-Americans vent about being 'perpetual foreigners' in America - yet at the same moment celebrate how Eileen Gu is 'representing them'.

We have a saying in America 'you made your bed, now sleep in it.'

Or, 'you reap what you sow.' Yep, Eileen can have the Chinese money, but she will not see many American endorsement dollars.

So, no sour grapes from me. But, Eileen, if you want you can have the Chinese endorsement money, but don't expect Americans endorsement money.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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