By STEPHEN WADE, AP Sports Writer
Eileen Gu, the California-born athlete who won two gold medals for China in freestyle skiing at the recent Beijing Olympics, has signed on to work for Salt Lake City’s nomination for the Beijing Olympics. winter of 2030 or 2034.
Tom Kelly, a spokesman for the bid committee, confirmed Gu’s involvement with the Associated Press as an “athlete representative.” Gu made the announcement earlier at the Time100 Summit, calling herself an “ambassador.”
“She’s working with us,” Kelly said, “but we haven’t chosen her exact title.”
The choice can be controversial or inspiring.
Gu, 18, was born in the United States to a Chinese mother, but almost four months ago he competed for China and won two gold and one silver medal in Beijing. In explaining her choice, she often said that she wanted to inspire young Chinese women.
Announcing his role with Salt Lake at the Time event, he said skiing and his position on the bidding committee was a “fine example of globalism.”
Gu is expected to attend Stanford University this fall.
His passport status has been scrutinized. China does not officially allow dual citizenship, and Gu has never clarified whether he still has U.S. citizenship or whether he actually had a Chinese passport.
The state-controlled Chinese media never seemed to raise the issue, initially welcoming the medals he won for his mother’s land.
In the non-Chinese media, he often offered vague answers. Part of the scrutiny was considered unfair, although it was put in the spotlight by China’s lucrative trade deals.
His move to work for the US candidacy could damage his popularity in China, especially at a time of intense geopolitical tensions between the two countries.
Salt Lake is bidding for the 2030 Winter Olympics along with Sapporo, Japan, and Vancouver, British Columbia. Spain has also shown interest.
The International Olympic Committee is expected to name the venue for the May 2023 meetings in Bombay, India. You could also select the site for 2034.
The IOC has hosted the Paris Summer Olympics on the 24th, Los Angeles on the 28th and Brisbane, Australia on the 32nd. The venue for the 2030 Winter Olympics is the next open space on the calendar.
Kelly, a spokesman for Salt Lake, said Gu will not travel to Lausanne, Switzerland next week, with a Salt Lake delegation to meet with IOC officials. Kelly said the head of the offer, Fraser Bullock, and American skier Lindsey Vonn would go.
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