Eileen Gu has taken a lot of abuse for deciding to ski for China, where her mother was born, rather than the United States, where she and her family live, in the 2022 Winter Olympics.
To my knowledge she has never publicly explained why she decided not to ski for the U.S. But no explanation would satisfy her critics.
Most of what I have seen about her on social media is hateful and obscene. You might consider these folks the usual pack of idiots, except that the pack seems to keep getting larger and louder, and that in itself is a troubling development.
Gu doesn’t represent China any more than she represents the U.S. She represents herself, in some ways a product of both cultures. She is trying to stand above all the usual political nonsense we slap over what is supposed to be a showcase of athletic performance. So she stands for what the Olympics are supposed to stand for, not what we have made of it.
Here is one thing she has said in her defense:
“I’m not trying to keep anyone happy. I’m an 18-year-old girl trying to live my best life. I know that I have a good heart and know that my reasons are for the common interest and greater good.
“No matter what I say, if people don’t have a good heart, they won’t believe me because they can’t empathize with people who do have a good heart. So in that sense, I feel as though it’s a lot easier to block out the hate now.
“If people don’t believe me and people don’t like me, that’s their loss. And also, they’re never going to know what it feels like to win the Olympics.”
What a brave and insightful young woman!
There’s a huge hunk of truth in what she says. People who don’t have a good heart are never going to understand people who do have a good heart. They’re always going to hate because they always hate what they can’t understand – and truth be known, they don’t seem to understand much, or try to, so they hate much.
Hate is always folly, even when it fails to multiply. If you are a follower of Jesus, you don’t hate. If you do hate, you’re not a follower of Jesus. You follow another master. Simple as that.
All that is an elaborate way of saying: Go, Gu!