NBC’s “Today” aired a glowing segment about Olympic athlete Eileen Gu, the American-born freestyle skier who made international headlines when she joined Team China in the 2022 Winter Olympics without mentioning the ongoing genocide taking place in her allegiant country.
The San Francisco native, born to an American father and a Chinese mother, won two gold medals and one silver medal on behalf of the CCP in various freestyle skiing competitions in February.
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“Today” co-host Hodi Kotb introduced Gu as the “teen phenom” “breakout star” from the Winter Olympics who’s been “juggling her newfound fame with competitions, college on the horizon and a stunning appearance at this week’s fashion’s biggest night.”
A pre-taped report characterized Gu competing for China as “honoring her mother’s home country on the international stage” and how much she has dedicated herself to empowering young girls.
Gold medallist Ailing Eileen Gu of Team China celebrates with their medal during the Women’s Freestyle Skiing Freeski Big Air medal ceremony on Day 4 of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at Beijing Medal Plaza on February 08, 2022 in Beijing, China.
(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
“You really are the full package,” Kotb fawned to Gu. “First of all, Olympic gold medalist, you’re everything in fashion, what did you get on your SATs?”
“I got a 1580 on my SAT,” the 18-year-old responded.
The NBC host did ask Gu about her choosing to compete with Team China, something Kotb said “wasn’t an easy decision” and “came with backlash.”
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“So, for me, it’s always been about using force- using sport as a force of communication,” Gu said. “And especially in a sport like free skiing- it’s so free, it’s so personal, you use it and it’s creative, there’s style. And a lot of people in China had never even heard of it. And so kind of introducing that sport culture to younger girls, especially, is it changed my life, you know. And so to be able to have that kind of contact with the sport. And now there are 300 million people in China who have gone out in snow after the Winter Olympics, and that impact is absolutely insane.”
Gold medal winner China’s Eileen Gu celebrates during the venue award ceremony for the women’s halfpipe finals at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 18, 2022, in Zhangjiakou, China.
(AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
“Did you feel like you’d needed to have a thick skin for what came at you after that?” Kotb asked.
“Absolutely,” Gu responded. “I mean, people always have their own opinions. But for me, what I try to stick to is- I know that- there’s no wrong or right, there’s only intention. And I’m trying to make the world a better place in my own way. And if people disagree with that, that’s okay. And I just encourage them to make the world better in their way, right? We can approach this situation from different standpoints. So yeah, to each their own.”
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While Gu boasted how “free” the sport of freestyle skiing is, Kotb was apparently not compelled to ask the Chinese Olympian about the lack of freedom the Uyghur people face as more than 1 million from the minority Muslim group have been imprisoned in concentration camps.
Supporters of China’s Muslim Uighur minority wave the flag of East Turkestan and hold placards on December 20, 2019 during a demostration at Fatih in Istanbul. (Photo by Ozan KOSE / AFP) (Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images)
Gu faced intense backlash for choosing to compete on behalf of the Chinese regime instead of the U.S.
“Is that cool now, to choose to represent a totalitarian police state over America?” late-night comedian Bill Maher asked in February. “The Olympics pretends to only be about sports but of course, the games have always been a bit of a proxy war for which country has the best system. And by choosing Team China, Eileen Gu became a living symbol of China’s triumph over the West, which wouldn’t bother me so much if I thought China had triumphed over us in the ways that really matter. But they haven’t.”
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Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley slammed Gu, saying the athlete has to “pick a side” between the U.S. and China.
“Every athlete needs to know when they put their flag on, you’re standing for freedom or you’re standing for human rights abuses. There is no in-between,” Haley said.
Joseph A. Wulfsohn is a media reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to email@example.com and on Twitter: @JosephWulfsohn.