The Winter Olympics are festooned with stars, but few have shone as brightly at the Beijing Games as freestyle skier Eileen Gu. Her gold medal win for China in the freeski big air event was followed on Tuesday with a silver in the women’s slopestyle. On Thursday she launches a bid for a record-breaking third medal in the half-pipe competition. The sporting prowess of this extraordinary 18-year-old, who was born and raised in the United States but chose to represent China, is impressive enough. But her medal-winning feats are not her only accomplishments. Gu is a fashion model and social media influencer. She has excelled academically. The teenager is also an advocate of gender equality and an inspiration for the young. But with a Chinese mother and American father, it is Gu’s ability to cross the cultural divide that stands out. She has become a sensation in China, with millions of supporters gushing over her achievements. Gu’s fluent Mandarin and embracing of Chinese culture have endeared her to the country’s fans. But she also expresses pride in her American upbringing. The teenager diplomatically says she feels American in America and Chinese in China. She refuses to be labelled as one or the other. This did not stop misguided critics in the US branding her a traitor for choosing to represent China. Questions have also been raised about whether she has renounced her American citizenship. China does not allow dual nationality. Gu deftly sidestepped these questions following her gold medal win. The issue has sparked debate about whether China’s ban on dual citizenship should be relaxed. That is a discussion worth having, as it would allow the country to attract talent from sporting and other fields. But the fuss about Gu’s citizenship is a storm in a teacup. More important is the potential for her to forge connections between the two countries. Will Eileen Gu superstardom create a lasting boom in China’s ski industry? The “Snow Princess” might win more hearts this week with another medal-winning feat. But she should not be placed under too much pressure. For all Gu can achieve in sport – and other fields – she is, to use her own words, “an 18-year-old girl living my best life”. She must be allowed to get on with doing that.