ASPEN, Colo. — Olympic freestyle skiing champion Eileen Gu crashed during practice for the Winter X Games and said she suffered a bad ligament strain in her knee that forced her to miss the contest.
Gu, who took two gold medals and one silver at the Beijing Games last year, posted on social media that she “had a heavy crash” during a practice Friday, and that results of an MRI showed “a bad MCL sprain, ACL strain and bone bruise.”
Gu, who won twice in Canada last week and has not lost a halfpipe contest since early 2021, watched Saturday night's action from the crowd. Zoe Atkin of Britain took the gold. Gu had also been expected to compete in slopestyle Sunday but decided to sit that one out, too.
"The last few hours really put everything in perspective and made me realize how important it is to keep my body healthy," she wrote.
The 19-year-old Gu, who grew up in the U.S. but competes for her mom's homeland of China, became the first action-sports athlete to win three medals at an Olympics. Last year in the mountains outside of Beijing, she took gold in slopestyle and halfpipe and silver in big air.
The San Francisco native is currently taking classes at Stanford for her freshman year. She also does work as a fashion model, and Forbes recently ranked her third on its list of highest-paid female athletes for 2022.
Other winners Saturday night included 14-year-old Gaon Choi of South Korea, who broke Chloe Kim's record to become the youngest athlete to take the Winter X title in the snowboard halfpipe.