Star skier Eileen Gu switched from Team USA to Team China for 2022 Winter Olympics

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Iconic American brands such as Tiffany’s and Cadillac continue to sponsor California skier Eileen Gu, the banner of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, despite turning their backs on Team USA to instead represent China and promote the Games for them worldwide. .

The 18-year-old was born and raised in San Francisco, where she attended high school. She has also won a study spot at Stanford. Her mother Yan is a first-generation Chinese immigrant and her father, reportedly American, has never been mentioned publicly.

Despite Gu having spent most of her youth freestyle skiing career as an American, Gu will compete in this year’s Olympics for China and she is now promoting the event for the Chinese, narrating online videos and appearing in commercials.

She made the decision in 2019 at the age of 15, claiming at the time that she wanted to inspire a generation of young Chinese girls to take up winter sports – which are relatively less celebrated and glamorous in Asia than in the US.

It is now unclear where Gu’s US citizenship stands – China does not recognize dual citizenship and minors under 16 cannot relinquish their US citizenship because they are not considered mature enough to make the decision. Gu’s representatives declined to confirm whether she has given up her US citizenship or whether China has asked her to.

While she chooses to represent China – where she is known as ‘Gu Ailing’, ‘the Snow Princess’ and has 1.3 million on Weibo – she maintains major sponsorship deals with American brands such as Cadillac, Tiffany’s, Visa, Therabody, Victoria’s Secret and Oakley.

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After landing in China last week, Eileen Gu delighted fans on Weibo - where she has 1.3 million followers - with a photo of her eating dumplings.

After landing in China last week, Eileen Gu delighted fans on Weibo – where she has 1.3 million followers – with a photo of her eating dumplings.

Gu is pictured with her Chinese mother, Yan.  She was born in San Francisco and grew up there

Gu is pictured with her Chinese mother, Yan.  She was born in San Francisco and grew up there

Gu is pictured with her Chinese mother, Yan. She was born in San Francisco and grew up there. Her father, reportedly American, has never been publicly mentioned

In 2019, at the age of 15, Gu announced plans to compete for China in the Olympics, not the US.  She said she wanted to inspire a generation of Chinese youth at the Beijing Games

In 2019, at the age of 15, Gu announced plans to compete for China in the Olympics, not the US.  She said she wanted to inspire a generation of Chinese youth at the Beijing Games

In 2019, at the age of 15, Gu announced plans to compete for China in the Olympics, not the US. She said she wanted to inspire a generation of Chinese youth at the Beijing Games

In interviews, she doesn’t seem to recognize or discuss the massive conflict between representing one of America’s longest-standing enemies and cashing in on her celebrity.

“When I’m in America, I’m American. When I’m in China, I’m Chinese,” Gu, who speaks fluent Mandarin, said in an interview with Red Bull’s Bulletin recently.

It is unclear whether the brands are also aware of the conflict, or whether they choose to ignore it.

When she landed in Beijing last week, Gu took to Weibo to tell fans that she had just eaten a plate of dumplings.

Gu’s decision to leave Team USA and compete for China appears to be related to the speed at which skiing is expanding as a celebrity sport there.

When China hosted the Winter Games in 2015, the country announced plans to open at least 800 new ski resorts.

Gu — who had grown up in San Francisco but traveled to China every year as a child — said she wanted to be a part of that growth.

“At first I knew everyone in the park because there were only ten or twenty of us in the entire country. Now it is the trendiest place to be.

“In the US I grew up with all these idols and I wanted to be that for someone else,” she said in an interview with Red Bull.

She has made no public comment or acknowledgment about how China treats its athletes, let alone the long-standing tension between the US and China.

Eileen Gu said her critics didn't share the empathy she had and she refused to bow to them

Eileen Gu said her critics didn't share the empathy she had and she refused to bow to them

Gu still has partnerships with American brands such as Tiffany's, Cadillac, Victoria's Secret and Visa

Gu still has partnerships with American brands such as Tiffany's, Cadillac, Victoria's Secret and Visa

Gu still has partnerships with American brands such as Tiffany’s, Cadillac, Victoria’s Secret and Visa

In a recent Instagram post, Gu tagged her partners and sponsors.  They include Beats by Dr Dre, Faction Skis, Oakley, Cadillac, Visa and Therabody.  She is also sponsored by the Swiss company IWC watches

In a recent Instagram post, Gu tagged her partners and sponsors.  They include Beats by Dr Dre, Faction Skis, Oakley, Cadillac, Visa and Therabody.  She is also sponsored by the Swiss company IWC watches

In a recent Instagram post, Gu tagged her partners and sponsors. They include Beats by Dr Dre, Faction Skis, Oakley, Cadillac, Visa and Therabody. She is also sponsored by the Swiss company IWC watches

Gu is one of the new Victoria's Secret ambassadors.  She was signed after announcing her decision to fight for China

Gu is one of the new Victoria's Secret ambassadors.  She was signed after announcing her decision to fight for China

Gu is one of the new Victoria’s Secret ambassadors. She was signed after announcing her decision to fight for China

Eileen Gu at the Met Gala in September.  She thanked Victoria's Secret and Tiffany's for sending her to the event, along with Anna Wintour for inviting her

Eileen Gu at the Met Gala in September.  She thanked Victoria's Secret and Tiffany's for sending her to the event, along with Anna Wintour for inviting her

Eileen Gu at the Met Gala in September. She thanked Victoria’s Secret and Tiffany’s for sending her to the event, along with Anna Wintour for inviting her

Her mother Yan, who travels with her on private jets to sports competitions and fashion shows, did not immediately respond to questions from DailyMail.com on Tuesday morning.

It is unclear what endorsement deals or sponsorship she has received from Chinese companies.

In China she is called ‘the snow princess’.

She was guest editor of this month’s issue of Vogue plus, an online offshoot of Vogue China, where she talked about the internal “code switch” of balancing her American and Chinese identities.

She also recently appeared on the cover of Elle China.

According to Red Bull, she appears in promotional videos for the Olympics, running along the Great Wall of China while carrying the Olympic torch.

Those videos don’t appear to be online, which fits with China’s strong hold on what is published about them.

The State Department did not respond to questions about her citizenship on Tuesday.

Gu is 'everywhere' in China, according to international journalists now on the ground in Beijing

Gu is 'everywhere' in China, according to international journalists now on the ground in Beijing

Gu is ‘everywhere’ in China, according to international journalists now on the ground in Beijing

Gu is much better known in China than it is currently in the US, despite having partnerships with major US brands.  Her Weibo account appears

Gu is much better known in China than it is currently in the US, despite having partnerships with major US brands.  Her Weibo account appears

Gu is much better known in China than it is currently in the US, despite having partnerships with major US brands. Her Weibo account appears

According to a recent Wall Street Journal profile, Red Bull previously published that Gu had given up her US passport to fight for China.

Red Bull then changed her biography to remove all mentions of her citizenship.

She is not the first star to side with China over the US on the international stage.

Last year, Canadian-Chinese actor Nicolas Tse renounced his Canadian citizenship and pledged allegiance to China.

He, like Gu, claimed that he had a duty to inspire Chinese youth and spread the country’s culture around the world.

Even American stars and Hollywood have given in to the Chinese to keep their place in the gigantic markets there.

John Cena apologized last year after recognizing Taiwan as a country and not a Chinese territory, and fervently begged his Chinese fans for forgiveness on social media.

CHINA’S CITIZENSHIP LAWS – DOUBLE NATO NATIONALITIES FORBIDDEN

Unlike the US, China does not recognize dual citizenship – anyone wishing to claim Chinese citizenship must swear full allegiance to the country.

For people like Gu, who became naturalized through her mother in 2019, it means that they can’t also enjoy nationality in other countries.

In the past, it has led some stars to relinquish their Western citizenships.

For many, the lucrative opportunities in the Chinese market are greater than those in the West.

That’s what drives some to prefer China over North America and Canada.

Gu’s case is more complicated because she made the switch when she was 15, and according to the State Department, a minor cannot legally renounce citizenship until he is 16.

It remains unclear whether she has ever formally renounced her US citizenship, or whether China is aware of her citizenship.

Neither Gu nor the State Department will comment.

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