Olympic Gold Medalist Eileen Gu on Work, Faculty, and Style

Eileen Gu is busier than most individuals her age. In spite of everything, the 19-year-old skilled skier shouldn’t be solely a two-time Olympic gold medalist, but in addition a extremely sought-after mannequin. On high of that, she’s a full-time pupil at Stanford, residing the great ole school life attending courses and hanging out with mates—that’s, when she isn’t touring the world for sports activities competitions or trend shoots. Mainly, she has lots happening.

So naturally, when given the possibility to speak with the freestyle ski star—who partnered with IWC Schaffhausen to host a youngsters’s coaching day forward of the X Video games in Aspen, Colorado—over Zoom, I mentioned sure. (I imply, you’re curious how she does it too, proper?) Collectively, we chatted about her experiences as an Olympian, her aim to encourage the following technology of skiers, and managing her workload as an adolescent.

You made the controversial determination to compete for China on the Beijing Olympics. What was that have like for you?

I used to be actually blissful to compete in China on the Olympics, and afterward, see the influence that these video games (and hopefully my efficiency) had on sports activities tradition in China and worldwide—particularly when it comes to motion sports activities and younger ladies. Going into the Olympics, I all the time mentioned my aim was to encourage younger ladies to take up the game of snowboarding and use it to interrupt by way of their boundaries, or encourage them in any side of their life. [I want to encourage them] to attempt one thing new for themselves, be unafraid of pushing themselves to their limits, and see how nice and highly effective they are often. Wanting again on the Olympics, I completely hit that aim. There are a whole bunch of hundreds of thousands of individuals within the snow in China and worldwide now having fun with the game I like a lot. I can say with 100% confidence I did what I’m meant to do. There’s nothing anybody can say that may take that away from me, as a result of there was an immensely constructive influence after the video games; that was actually vital to me.

As a younger skilled skier, what has been the largest lesson you’ve realized in your profession thus far?

I feel the toughest half about snowboarding is absolutely understanding your self. Stress exacerbates no matter’s already in your head. When you go right into a contest pondering, “I can’t do that, I’m so scared, I’m going to lose,” the extra strain you’ve gotten, the extra actual these ideas are going to change into. The alternative can be true. When you go in feeling as if you might be assured in your potential and have carried out the coaching essential, then that can manifest for you. Having the ability to management what you assume, compartmentalize these adverse ideas, and practice successfully—that’s a giant factor for me proper now. I’ve three occasions, and I’m the one individual competing in all three of them, as an added problem. Plus, [I’m] the one full-time pupil, so [that’s] double the problem. Amongst all of these exterior components, it’s nearly how robust your sense of self is, how assured you might be in your psychological sport, and how will you carry out on the day.

With that in thoughts, is there any recommendation you’d prefer to share with younger ladies (and boys) who aspire to observe in your footsteps?

The largest factor is being unafraid to attempt. Lots of people, myself included, have had a variety of experiences the place we really feel judged; we’re scared to fall as a result of we expect it’ll be embarrassing, or we’re not welcome. Or, that individuals who appear to be us or come from backgrounds like us aren’t mirrored in our industries. All of these are extremely isolating, and they are often devastating to somebody’s shallowness in the event that they’re younger—even when they’re previous, too! Crucial lesson is to be unafraid to attempt, to search out people who find themselves supportive, and to encompass your self with positivity. On high of that, discover your ardour and belief your self greater than these judging you externally. When you love one thing and you actually need to do it, the one voice that issues is yours. Simply keep in mind that and keep true to your self, as cliché as that sounds.

Let’s transfer on to trend. How do you deliver your sense of fashion to the slopes?

I feel snowboarding and trend undoubtedly play off each other in my life. In snowboarding particularly, I assist design what’s on my skis; I’ve my signature on it and different components I pitch. Final yr, it was the Chinese language proverb, “A Dragon Amongst Folks,” within the form of a dragon. This yr I’ve a phoenix, with “Everlasting Flame” etched onto the sting of the sidewall. It’s a play on the Olympic flame. There are a variety of private model components I’ve put into my gear that imply lots to me. I feel snowboarding and trend feed into one another in that they’re each so private and expressive, so the play of each is one thing that’s so enjoyable for me.

As somebody who spends a lot time in chilly climate, what are your largest winter skincare suggestions?

Put on sunscreen! It’s the largest factor. I apply sunscreen twice a day except I’m actually centered on coaching; you possibly can know I had a very good week as a result of you possibly can see a little bit goggle tan. On high of that, all the time have your moisturizer. I’ve a quite simple skincare routine; I simply do a moisturizer and a serum and that’s it, however all people has to play to their very own strengths and know what their pores and skin wants. Additionally, eat your vegatables and fruits and drink water, as a result of that makes an enormous distinction.

There’s little doubt you’ve gotten a very busy schedule. How do you handle to keep up a wholesome stability and mindset by way of all of it?

It’s a whirlwind, however in one of the best ways potential. The truth that I achieve this many alternative issues is what retains it fascinating. If I spent on a regular basis I spend doing stuff in a single side of my life, I’d have already burnt out. What retains me from losing interest is the juxtaposition of these completely different features of my life on the identical time. It’s troublesome to develop bored with one factor whenever you’re solely doing it for an hour, and so after I’m in school, I’m excited to be there; I’m with my mates and within the school rooms, bodily current. After I’m gone, I’m not eager about college, as a result of abruptly I’m the other way up and don’t should be studying my physics from a textbook; I’m residing it in actual life. Style is expressive, enjoyable, and artistic. I’m assembly all of those unimaginable folks and have the chance to specific myself and my values in a manner I don’t get to in different features of my life. All of those implausible components in my life match collectively on this distinctive puzzle, and that’s what retains issues fascinating, not regardless of each other, however due to it.

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What are you learning at school proper now?

I haven’t declared my main but—you don’t must declare your main till the top of your second yr and I’m one and a half quarters in proper now. However final quarter, I took a quantum physics class, a poly-sci class, and a few core requirement courses. I had 17 models final quarter, with 20 being the utmost. This quarter, I take 18 models with some philosophy courses, a writing intensive, and a conventional Chinese language medication class; we’ll see if that was a wise thought…I am additionally competing in a bunch of various contests.

What’s subsequent for you?

I simply got here off two World Cup wins, in order that was actually huge for me. It was my first contest again after the Olympics, and I used to be over 11 months out of the competitors scene, so being again was undoubtedly a confidence enhance and jogged my memory how a lot I like competing. I [just had] the X Video games, and I’m eager about World Championships and World Cups down the road. On the finish of the day, it’s simply me in opposition to myself. I’m attempting to do the very best I can on the day; that’s all I can ask.

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Dale Arden Chong is the Senior Style Commerce Editor at ELLE.com. Beforehand, she was an editor at MensHealth.com and has written for Who What Put on, GLAMOUR, The Coveteur, and extra. She loves trend, meals, and artwork, amongst different issues—however her biggest love is Ok-pop idol V of BTS.

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