When Eileen Gu won Olympic gold in the freeski big air, sales of her red Anta ski suit, complete with slipdrag reduction technology, surged 20-fold on Chinese e-commerce platform JD.com. Luckin Coffee sold out of Gu-endorsed drinks, with a spike in cup holders bearing her image, and the Chinese chain immediately said it would launch more Gu-linked products throughout the year. After the San Francisco-born skier won yet another medal for the half-pipe event in Beijing, her closely scrutinised decision to compete for China appears to be paying off – commercially at least. Who is Irene Zhao, the Singapore model who made millions selling her NFTs? Already Team China’s most popular athlete, the fashion model and incoming Stanford student is sponsored by two dozen brands, from French luxury conglomerate Louis Vuitton to mass market Chinese sportswear maker Anta. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Eileen Gu 🖤🌈🧊🐲 (@eileen_gu_) Her global endorsements include Estee Lauder, Victoria’s Secret, Tiffany & Co. and Oakley, which have all targeted the China market in recent years. Her rousing gold medal performance and soaring popularity in China could propel her into the ranks of the world’s top-earning athletes if she can continue to avoid major controversy. Michael Payne, former marketing chief of the International Olympic Committee, cited China’s aim to get 300 million people involved in winter sports when he described the opportunity for Gu as unprecedented. 4 of Asia’s richest power couples – from K-pop to Bollywood “If you look at the most successful athletes like Michael Phelps, I think we were talking about earning up to US$100 million … there’s no question that if she continues to bring in the golds, she will be in the same league,” he said. Winter Olympians, competing in niche sports, typically lag their Summer counterparts in earning power. Exceptions include snowboarder Shaun White, who made US$8 million in his 2009 heyday and US$1.5 million in the 12 months leading up to the Beijing Games, according to Forbes. It could be a simple Tweet, it could be a very simple mistake and they will wipe her clean from any kind of coverage, like they’ve done with many other Chinese celebrities Bryce Whitwam, marketing professor, NYU Shanghai Gu-mania Gu’s looks, athletic achievements, dual-national appeal and power as an influencer put her on a level of her own. Following her big air gold medal win, Tiffany & Co. began trending on Chinese social media after she removed her Anta gloves to reveal four rings that netizens quickly identified as having been made by the LVMH-owned jeweller, which Gu endorses. Meet Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee’s millionaire sons, Brandon and Dylan Chinese media has buzzed with speculation over Gu’s endorsements, and Shanghai-based market research firm CBN Data believes she raked in more than 200 million yuan (US$31.4 million) last year alone from brand endorsements. Her agent Tom Yaps did not respond to a request for comment. Gu ticks multiple boxes in China thanks to her image as a model student and pride in her decision to compete for the country of her mother’s birth, said Bryce Whitwam, adjunct professor of marketing at NYU in Shanghai. “She is extraordinarily charismatic and appealing to Chinese culture and the simple fact that she came to China to want to be Chinese, that is a huge win for her,” he said, describing China’s “Gu-mania”. 7 things to know about Brad Pitt’s rumoured girlfriend, Lykke Li Potential pitfalls With her carefully worded answers, which avoid directly addressing questions about her citizenship, and a Beijing-accented Mandarin that has charmed many, Gu has managed to sidestep controversy during the games, despite some online grumbling that she lives a life of privilege unattainable to most. Hu Xijin, a prominent columnist at the Communist Party-run Global Times , suggested on Sunday that because Gu could end up choosing US citizenship, she should be cheered on as part of “Team China”, not as a patriotic symbol. “She gives the Chinese public happiness, so there is no shame in seeking a commercial return,” Hu wrote. “But the political elements need to be minimised as much as possible. It is risky for Gu Ailing to be that kind of a vector.” Unlike her gravity-defying ski tricks, Gu’s public persona is low-risk: she supports Black Lives Matter but avoids questions about human rights in China, instead presenting herself as a bridge-builder and global ambassador for skiing. “Eileen has done a great job in making sure she does not say the wrong thing, but you know what? You are going to mess up sometimes,” Whitwam said. 5 reasons we all knew Angelababy and Huang Xiaoming’s divorce was coming Gu’s earning power could be dimmed on both sides by global tensions Her decision to compete for China has drawn criticism in the United States, while in China she must navigate the tightening oversight over celebrities , with many stars cancelled by authorities after missteps. “It could be a simple Tweet, it could be a very simple mistake and they will wipe her clean from any kind of coverage, like they’ve done with many other Chinese celebrities,” Whitwam said. Want more stories like this? Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .