Ski athlete Gu Ailing caused controversy in China when he became a promotional ambassador for the US city to participate in winning the right to host the Olympics.
Gu Ailing, 19, nicknamed the “snow princess”, was one of the most popular sports stars at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing in February, when she won two medals for China. gold and a silver medal.
Coc has an American father, a Chinese mother and was born in California. She used to compete in sports as an American athlete, but joined the Chinese team in 2019. Many people have wondered about Gu’s nationality because China does not recognize dual citizenship. She repeatedly dodged questions about whether she had given up her US passport.
On June 7, Coc announced that she became an ambassador for Salt Lake City, Wyoming, USA, in the campaign to win the right to host the Winter Olympics in 2030 or 2034.
“Salt Lake City aspires to become a global destination for athletes from all over the world,” Coc said in an interview in New York. “This is a great example of globalism and the ability to bring people together through winter sports.”
“I’m very proud to be a part of this hosting effort,” she said. However, Coc also emphasized that he did not regret having switched to playing for China.
Gu’s announcement as a promotional ambassador for the American city has attracted tens of millions of reads and sparked a wave of controversy on Weibo.
Some people criticized her for “betraying” China. “She’s American after all,” one person commented.
“Of course she doesn’t regret playing for China. In the past one year she has earned in China enough money to live on for the rest of her life. But now she is back to promoting the American city.” one person wrote, alluding to the many advertising contracts that Coc signed with Chinese companies.
Meanwhile, others expressed support for Coc. “She has international influence as a Chinese athlete,” read one comment.
“My friend, Coc Ai Lang, is truly amazing and makes me proud,” one person wrote.
Duc Trung (Theo AFP)