China’s Ailing Eileen Gu has added another “first” to a career that already seems to be overflowing with them, as the 18-year-old became the first female free skier ever to land a double cork 1440 while training last weekend in Stubai.
After Russia’s Anastasia Tatalina became the first woman in competition to land double cork 1260s in both directions on her way to gold at the Aspen 2021 World Championships last season, the freeski world knew it was only a matter of time before somebody stepped up to add the extra half rotation needed for the 1440.
Last Sunday, Gu became that somebody when she stomped the double-flipping, four-full-rotation trick cleanly at Stubai's Prime Park Sessions.
Through only two full seasons of international competition Gu has checked off an incredible list of achievements, becoming the first freeskier ever to win slopestyle and halfpipe World Cup competitions on back-to-back days at the same venue back in 2019/20, becoming the first athlete ever to win three medals in their X Games debut last season, and then following that X Games achievement up by becoming the first freeskier to win three medals at one World Championships when she took slopestyle gold, halfpipe gold, and big air bronze at the Aspen 2021 World Championships.
With the double cork 1440 now in her bag of tricks, the 18-year-old has stepped up her big air game and cemented herself as a favourite to potentially pull off an Olympic gold medal triple when the Games go down in Beijing in just a few short months.
With the World Cup slopestyle season set to start in just one week at the Stubai Zoo in Austria, where qualifications are slated for Friday 19 November, followed by finals on Saturday 20 November, Gu’s march towards what could be a history-making showing in Beijing is ready to begin.
We can’t wait to see what happens next.