Former UN ambassador Nikki Haley says Olympic skier Eileen Gu can’t be both American and Chinese

Former UN ambassador Nikki Haley says Olympic skier Eileen Gu can’t be both American and Chinese

Nikki Haley
Former UN ambassador Nikki Haley says Olympic skier Eileen Gu can’t be both American and Chinese—

Former US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has weighed in on American-born freestyle skier Eileen Gu, telling the Olympic medalist who has become China’s new darling to pick a country.

“In terms of the citizenship, look, China or the US? You have got to pick a side. Period. You’ve got to pick a side because you’re either American or you’re Chinese, and they are two very different countries,” Haley, who served as UN ambassador under Donald Trump from 2017 to 2019, said in an interview with Real Clear Politics published on Tuesday.

“Every athlete needs to know when they put their flag on, you’re standing for freedom or you’re standing for human rights abuses. There is no in-between,” Haley added.

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Haley said that she boycotted watching the Olympics because of China’s dismal human rights track record in Xinjiang and the country’s abuse of its Uyghur ethnic minority group.

“I can’t imagine in any way supporting that or propping up China,” Haley said, explaining her reason for the personal boycott.

Eighteen-year-old Gu was born in California and opted in 2019 to compete for China. Since then, she has skyrocketed to stardom in China and been dubbed the country’s “snow princess.”


However, Gu still lives in the US and is slated to attend Stanford University with its class of 2026.

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“I am proud of my heritage and equally proud of my American upbringings,” Gu wrote in an Instagram post back in June 2019.

“The opportunity to help inspire millions of young people where my mom was born during the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help to promote the sport I love,” she added.

Gu has been cautious when speaking about her national identity in interviews. She told the South China Morning Post that she is “fully American” in the way she speaks and looks and that “nobody can deny” that she’s Chinese because she completely identifies as Chinese.

“I’m just as American as I am Chinese,” she said at a post-event press conference on February 8, per CNN.

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“I’m American when I’m in the US, and I’m Chinese when I’m in China,” Gu added. “I have been very outspoken about my gratitude to both the US and China for making me the person I am.”

However, China doesn’t recognize dual citizenship, and Gu has yet to disclose her citizenship status.

Gu has won two medals at the Olympics — a gold medal in freestyle big air, and a silver medal in slopestyle skiing. She is also the competition’s favorite for Thursday’s women’s halfpipe event.

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