American-born Eileen Gu has become the first Olympic champion in the women’s freestyle big air, taking gold for China at the Beijing Winter Games.
The 18-year-old earned the highest score of 94.5 on her third run at the new Big Air Shougang venue.
Her two best scores put her top of the standings on 188.25.
She clinched the title from France’s Tess Ledeux on the last jump.
Ledeux had set the benchmark of 94.5 on her first run but her two best jumps could only give her a total of 187.5.
Switzerland’s Mathilde Gremaud took bronze on her 22nd birthday, with a total of 182.5.
Nicknamed the “Snow Princess”, Gu is among the biggest local names in Beijing and she is also favourite to claim gold in slopestyle and halfpipe..
Gu has received heat from her birth country after turning down Team USA to compete for China at the Games.
Her mother is from China, and though she learned to ski in California, she says her goal is to be a role model for young girls in China who have not had many female athletes to admire.
It’s been a lucrative move for her, as well.
Her face is on advertisements across Beijing, and her modelling career is nearly as hot as her skiing talents, with appearances for Vogue, Victoria’s Secret, Louis Vitton, Tiffany and more.
– with AP