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Feb 09, 2022 07:07 PM
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Blog: Freestyle Skiing — Rookies and Veterans Team Up to Present ‘Acrobatics on Snow’

Eileen Gu. Photo: VCG
Eileen Gu. Photo: VCG

Editor’s note: California-born Eileen Gu won a gold medal Tuesday in the women’s freeski big air event, bagging China its third gold in the Beijing Winter Olympics. Gu cranked out her first “1620,” a four-and-a-half-rotation trick, in the final run. As one of the highest-profile sports stars in China, her win drew widespread attention.

Freestyle skiing is known as “acrobatics on snow.”

The Chinese delegation has won one gold, six silvers, and four bronzes in previous Olympic freestyle skiing events. In this Winter Olympic Games, the delegation has gathered freestyle skiing veterans such as Xu Mengtao and rookies such as 18-year-old Eileen Gu, who is participating in the Olympics for the first time.

Freestyle skiing is similar to figure skating. The score is determined by the artistic effect of the performance and competition skills, which requires athletes to have good balance and aerial control capability. In 1992, moguls became an official event of the Winter Olympics, and other freestyle skiing events were added in subsequent years.

The movements of freestyle skiing are quite complex. Basically all the movements that humans can imagine doing in the air are included. A variety of jumps, twists and inverts bring athletes the greatest “freedom” in their aerial performance.

Gu of Team China performs during a practice ahead of the Women’s Freestyle Skiing Freeski Big Air Final on the fourth day of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games on Feb. 8 in Beijing. Photo: VCG

Zhang Xinping and Yang Zhanwu are coeditors of the “Fun With Winter Olympics” book series published by Sun Yat-sen University Press.

This article is partly excerpted from the book series, the Xinhua News Agency, and the PLA Daily.

Translated by Ma Kaiwen and reviewed by Guo Cong. (Both are from the School of International Studies at Sun Yat-sen University)

Contact editor Joshua Dummer (joshuadummer@caixin.com)

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