US-Born Olympian Eileen Gu Is China's Biggest Star & She's Made $30M Since Switching Sides

Started in California, now she's here. 💰💰💰

Global Staff Writer
US-Born Olympian Eileen Gu Is China's Biggest Star & She's Made $30M Since Switching Sides

Changing teams at the Olympics has been like winning the lottery for Eileen Gu.

The gold medal-winning skier is reportedly raking in seven figures after deciding to represent China at the Olympics, even though she was born and raised in California.

The Olympian has an American father and a Chinese mother, and she decided to switch teams in 2019 to represent her mother's native country, China.

And boy, was that the right move to make.

Since swapping teams, the Olympic skier has made an estimated $42 million since the beginning of last year in endorsements alone, reports Yahoo Sports. A more conservative estimate puts her earnings at over $30 million, which is still pretty great.

Not only is Gu an Olympic athlete, but she's also a model and is signed by one of the world's most renowned modelling agencies, IMG Models, which also represent the Hadid sisters.

Gu has deals with Estee Lauder, Victoria's Secret, Oakley and Tiffany & Co., Reuters reports. She's also making serious bank off a line of sponsored ski suits that are sold in China. And there are many more deals on top of that.

"If you look at the most successful athletes like Michael Phelps, I think we were talking about earning up to $100 million," Michael Payne, former chief of marketing for the International Olympics Committee, told Reuters. "There's no question that if she continues to bring in the golds, she will be in the same league."

Gu won a gold medal for women's big air freestyle skiing last week and added a silver medal for women's slopestyle skiing this week at the Beijing Olympics.

Those medals have reportedly made her one of the most bankable stars in China right now.

PR news site Campaign Asia estimates that Gu's campaign deals are now worth approximately $2.5 million each.

But all that fame has also cost her some respect with American athletes.

"Eileen is from California, not from China, and her decision [to ski for China] seems opportunistic," Jen Hudak, an American former Winter X Games gold medalist, said to the New York Post.

"She became the athlete she is because she grew up in the United States, where she had access to premier training grounds and coaching that, as a female, she might not have had in China," Hudak went on to say.

"This makes me sad," she added. "It would be nice to see the medals going to America."

Gu has become both a hero and a villain on social media, depending on whether you're in the U.S. or China.

But the 18-year-old says she's not letting it get to her.

"If people don't believe me, if people don’t like me, then that's their loss," she said after winning gold last week, according to the Associated Press.

"They're never going to win the Olympics."

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