Eileen Gu calls big air freestyle skiing gold ‘best moment of my life’

Ailing Eileen Gu of Team China reacts after her final jump before winning gold during the Women's Freestyle Skiing Freeski Big Air Final on Day 4 of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at Big Air Shougang on February 8, 2022 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Liu Lu/VCG via Getty Images)

Eileen Gu made history on Tuesday, capturing the first gold medal in the Olympics’ inaugural freestyle skiing big air event.

The competition came down to Gu’s final run, with the 18-year-old sitting behind Tess Ledeux of France on the leaderboard as she entered the starting gate. With all eyes on the Team China star, Gu threw down a daring third jump that produced her highest score of the night. The American-born skier landed a double cork 1620 to move in front of Ledeux and clinch the gold medal with a total score of 188.25.

“That was a trick I have never done before, had never attempted before,” Gu said after the win. “I’ve thought about it a lot, but to put it down on my third run in the first Olympic freeski final in history means the world to me.”

Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland rounded out the podium, finishing behind Gu and Ledeux for the bronze medal.

“That was the best moment of my life. The happiest moment, day, whatever of my life,” Gu added. “I just cannot believe what just happened.”

Gu, who has competed for China since 2019 despite being born and raised in California, is also a favorite to medal in the slopestyle and halfpipe events. The slopestyle competition kicks off on Saturday and runs through Sunday.