Eileen Gu extends China's golden run at Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics

Gu's win in halfpipe adds to country's best ever gold tally at Winter Games

China's Eileen Gu on the podium after winning the freestyle skiing women's freeski halfpipe at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. AFP
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China "snow princess" Eileen Gu's dominant win in the halfpipe at the Beijing Olympics on Friday added to the country's best ever gold medal tally at a Winter Games, with freestyle skiing accounting for half of the host's podium-topping finishes.

With eight golds and 14 medals in all, China showed a huge improvement from four years ago in Pyeongchang, where they only took home one gold. Aided by Gu’s two wins, in Big Air and halfpipe, the country are level with the United States in third place for gold medals, with just days left in the Games.

"Seeing China's winter sports team break its record with so many medals and good performances, I feel very proud," Gu said after her halfpipe victory. "The most important thing is China has made so much progress in freestyle, and grown so much love for the sport, which is beautiful."

In addition to freestyle skiing and snowboarding, China won golds in speed skating, two short-track and one long-track.

It is not unusual for a host nation to do well at a Games but China are exceeding predictions. China's previous best Winter Games was in 2010, when they won five golds and 11 medals in total.

In short-track, a sport that has been the major source of China's Olympics glory since skater Yang Yang won their first Winter gold 20 years ago, China topped the podiums in the mixed relay and men’s 1000 metres.

The country made further progress in freestyle skiing, cementing their powerhouse status with golds in Big Air and men's and women's aerials singles, in addition to Friday's halfpipe win for Gu. Su Yiming made history with China’s first gold in any snowboarding event, winning in Big Air.

With two more days of competition left, China's best hope of adding to the medal tally are in men's speed skating and pairs figure skating.

China sent 176 athletes, their largest ever Winter Games contingent, to compete at the Beijing Olympics and will have taken part in 104 of 109 events, including 35 for the first time - such as in men’s ice hockey.

Updated: February 19, 2022, 3:29 AM
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