Portugal Colonial - Mum's the word as 'relieved' Eileen Gu adds silver to Olympic gold

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Mum's the word as 'relieved' Eileen Gu adds silver to Olympic gold
Mum's the word as 'relieved' Eileen Gu adds silver to Olympic gold

Mum's the word as 'relieved' Eileen Gu adds silver to Olympic gold

Eileen Gu needed a pep talk from her mum midway through Tuesday's freeski slopestyle final to win her second medal of the Beijing Olympics, but the Californian-born Chinese sensation fell just short of another gold.

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The 18-year-old added silver to the gold she won in last week's Big Air, overcoming a shaky start to finish 0.33 points behind winner Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland.

Gu said her mother could see that she "wasn't fully in the zone" after her first run and urged her to "pretend you have no more chances" on her second of three attempts.

Gu ended up taking a hefty backwards tumble on her second run but she got there in the end, claiming silver on her final attempt ahead of Estonian favourite Kelly Sildaru.

"I guess my imagination's not that good so it came down to the real third run, and I did it," said Gu, munching on a local steamed bun as she spoke to reporters.

"For that, I'm so, so proud of myself."

Gu is the face of the Games and will have another shot at a medal in freeski halfpipe, with the qualification round taking place on Thursday and the final on Friday.

She said the "trifecta" of three freestyle skiing medals at the Games had "always been my goal" and she kept the dream alive with a gutsy performance in slopestyle.

Gu, who in 2019 switched from representing the US to China, was in third place after the first run but she slipped off a rail on her second run to leave her eighth with only one chance remaining.

She saved the day with a tenacious final run and said she felt "relieved" to end up on the podium.

"I'm out here representing myself and the sport to people so just to be able to put down a run and show people what's possible when you're under pressure is another thing that I'm proud to represent," she said.

"I'm proud of myself and I'm happy that everybody was here to witness it."

- 'Ski popped off' -

Gremaud took gold on 86.56 points, marginally ahead of Gu on 86.23.

Both had a nervous wait as Sildaru took her final run, but the 19-year-old Estonian could not dislodge them and finished with the bronze on 82.06.

"My first run was my safe run and that was the run that brought me the bronze," said Sildaru, whose right ski flew off on her second run -- the second time it has happened to her at the Beijing Games.

"I'm happy about it (bronze) but I would feel better if I could have put down a better run. I landed my second run but my ski popped off. I'm a little pumped about it."

Gremaud flew beneath the radar to take gold with all the attention on Gu and Sildaru.

The 22-year-old Swiss broke her ski binding -- which attaches the ski to the boots -- on her first run but said the incident was "a good distraction".

"It just took my mind somewhere else instead of thinking 'what am I going to do?'" she said.

"I just emptied my head and I was just thinking about my binding."

L.E.Campos--PC