Eileen Feng Gu (also known as Gu Ailing), was born in the US, but after meeting President Xi Jinping at a Winter Olympics preparation event back in 2019, dressed in the Chinese team uniform, she has officially switched to representing China – her mother’s homeland – in her favourite sport. And she fulfilled China’s hopes in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics by bringing home her first gold medal in the freeski big air competition. It was her ski-mad mum who kick-started her career, reportedly enrolling Gu in lessons in Lake Tahoe, in the Sierra Nevada mountains, so that she could keep up with her. Gu told Forbes that in doing so, her mother “accidentally created a pro skier”. Brooklyn Beckham and Nicola Peltz’s glitzy wedding of the year In case you’re wondering what type of skiing Gu’s involved in, it’s the cool type – aka freestyle – which involves pulling off jumps, tricks and various other forms of aerial acrobatics, rather than the more traditional, timed downhill races. But Gu is something of an all-rounder, competing in everything from the freeski half-pipe and freeski slopestyle (skiing a course with various jumps and rails that allow you to do tricks), to freeski big air events (like slopestyle, but with terrifyingly large jumps). As a result, she nabbed a record haul of medals at last year’s FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboarding World Championships and at the Winter X Games. These days she’s stretched as thin off the slopes as she is on them though, thanks to a whole host of luxury brand commitments. In fact, she appears to be the most sponsored individual athlete of the forthcoming Olympics, with more than 20 endorsements to her name … and counting. Jealously, isolation, escape: behind Princess Charlene’s fairy tale Monaco life She is a global ambassador for Tiffany & Co. (she has described herself as a “jewellery fiend”) and first appeared in the US luxury jeweller’s 2021 Give Me The T campaign. She also has a partnership with Louis Vuitton , starring in a December 2021 campaign for its Twist bags; and just became a brand ambassador for Swiss watchmaker IWC Schaffhausen in January 2022, performing tricks in a skate park for its Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 4. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Eileen Gu 🖤🌈🧊🐲 (@eileen_gu_) Gu also made Victoria’s Secret’s 2o21 list of empowering women, and has relationships with US beauty giant Estée Lauder and quintessentially American carmaker Cadillac. Meanwhile in China, her commercial partners have included online mall JD.com, sportswear company Anta, dairy giant Yili and coffee chain Luckin Coffee. She is also an enthusiastic fashionista, regularly appearing in the front row at fashion weeks, and herself modelling for the likes of Fendi and Chanel through agency IMG – not to mention the magazine covers she’s graced. Meet Princess Fadzilah of Brunei – whose 10-day wedding just kicked off Her popularity is part of a broader trend from luxury brands to begin to move away from traditional showbiz celebrities, and towards people achieving success in other areas – especially in sports. Moreover, Gu represents a uniquely profitable proposition for brands: not only does her sporting prowess make her likely to become the breakout star of the 2022 Winter Olympics, but she has genuine cut-through in both China and the West, as someone who authentically straddles both cultures – much like last year’s Gen Z tennis breakout star, Emma Raducanu . Inside André Leon Talley’s luxury life, celebrity friendships – and legacy Nor has her advocacy – of causes ranging from women’s rights to racial equality – hurt her attractiveness to prospective sponsors. What’s more, if Gu wins a gold medal in Beijing, sports-marketing analyst Dorfman predicts it could be worth US$10 million in new sponsorship deals. Not bad for an 18-year-old! Want more stories like this? Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .