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'Snow Princess' Eileen Gu wins second gold medal at her freeski halfpipe signature event

The 18-year-old has become the first action-sports star to capture three medals at one Olympic Winter Games.

BEIJING, China — Eileen Gu, the American-born freestyle skier known as the "Snow Princess" by her fans, has won her second gold medal for China at the freeski halfpipe Friday morning in Beijing at the Winter Olympics. 

Gu, 18, brings her total medal count to three this season, having previously won gold in big air and just missing a third in slopestyle, finishing with silver instead. She's the first action-sports star to capture three medals at one Olympic Winter Games.

With a large crowd of Chinese fans cheering her every move, she easily scored a 93.25 and took the the lead on her first run. She performed even stronger in her second run, ultimately scoring a 95.25. 

Team Canada was unable to unseat the now-historic champion for China, though their athletes helped the country earn two additional medals to its total tally with Cassie Sharpe and Rachael Karker winning silver and bronze, respectively. 

The event proved challenging for Team USA, with none of their three athletes managing to rank in the top five: Hanna Faulhaber ranked sixth with a score of 85.25, Brita Sigourney placed 10th with a score of 70.75, and Carly Margulies came in 11th with a score of 61.00.

Experts largely considered Gu's top rival to be Kelly Sildaru of Estonia, having also competed in big air and slopestyle. She ultimately placed fourth at this event. 

While considered a national icon in China, Gu has attracted controversy for her decision to compete for China as the host-country has become increasingly authoritarian over the last decade. Gu said she had wanted to represent her mother's homeland, and she transferred to China's Olympic Team when she was 15-years-old, just three years ago. 

“I'm not trying to solve political problems right now,” she had previously said, offering pushback to those who suggest skiing for China somehow implies her unquestioning approval of the country's government and its policies. “And I'm aware that I'm not able to do everything I want to do in this exact moment.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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