The American-born freestyle skier, who now competes for China, Eileen Gu, took another step towards dominating the 2022 Winter Olympics but fell just short of winning a second gold medal in a row.
The 18-year-old won silver in the women’s Freeski slopestyle by the tiniest of margins, requiring a dig-deep third-round run to catapult herself onto the podium.
A slopestyle skier must handle a series of pipes and jumps with creativity, grace, and boldness. Every feat requires technique, and many competitors battled with the pipes and landings in the minus-seven-degree weather.
After the first round, the judges gave her a score of 69.90 which put her in third place. Her second round, however, was cut short due to a pipe fall, and she finished eighth.
For the third and final round, Gu knew she had to do her best slopestyle run ever, and she came close. Her ultimate score was 86.23, which was only three-tenths of a point behind Switzerland’s Mathilde Gremaud for the gold, while Kelly Sildaru of Estonia’s performance in the first round was sufficient for bronze.
Although a silver medal does not have the same prestige as gold, Gu’s ability to compete in an all-or-nothing final round adds to her legacy.