Gu Yan, the mother of Eileen Gu – the U.S born, 18-year-old freestyle skier who won an Olympics gold medal for China on Tuesday – is offering her advice on how to raise a top athlete and student.
Following Eileen’s winning performance at the freeski big air event, many Chinese fans expressed their admiration for the 18-year-old and praised her for being a champion athlete and model student, referring to her admission to Stanford University in 2020.
One fan’s compliment on Weibo that read, “Dad was Harvard, Mom was Peking University, Stanford, Grandmother was an athlete. She’s beautiful and classy.” was recirculated on the platform 86,000 times, according to PBS.
Coverage of Eileen’s upbringing has spread following her gold medal win, and her mother, Gu Yan, has been giving parents advice by outlining the steps she took as a single mom to help the 18-year-old achieve her goals.
One piece of advice that Gu Yan offered was about the importance of getting plenty of sleep every night.
According to South China Morning Post, Gu Yan told Red Star News: “When she was a little girl, I would let her sleep up to 15 hours a day. Then 13 hours when she was a primary school student. Now she sleeps 10 hours a day. Without adequate sleep, how can one have the energy to play?”
When asked about education, Eileen’s mother told reporters it is vital to allow a child creative freedom and to praise them for their efforts rather than their intelligence.
Gu Yan, who herself was a short-track speed skater and skiing coach while she attended Peking University, said that she initially was wary about her daughter taking an interest in professional skiing, knowing the dangers of the sport.
After seeing Eileen’s immense passion for it, however, Gu Yan would drive her daughter to ski parks eight hours away every weekend, according to the South China Morning Post.
Eileen also shared during an interview with Chinese state broadcaster CCTV that she would study in Beijing during the summer months, because “studying in Beijing for 10 days equals what [she] could learn in the U.S. for a year.”
Eileen has praised her mother for raising her as a single mother and said in an interview with CCTV, “I know every child thinks their one mother is the best mother. But I do think my mum is the best, because she can do many more things than other mums, and she does all these by herself.”