Eileen Gu Opens Up About Dealing With Failure

Instagram | Eileen Gu

Fatima Araos

Skier, model, and straight-A student Eileen Gu looks like she can do anything – and do it perfectly – but she’s also had her moments of failure. Though we don’t hear or read about those failures (simply because her amazing successes overshadow them all), she’ll be the first to admit her life on the slopes is far from a walk in the park.

The 18-year-old freestyle skier knows a lot about falling down and getting back up, literally and figuratively, and she shared her experiences and insights during a Q&A on Instagram Stories. See below.

Proud Of Her Resilience


When a fan asked how she deals with “failed performances at competitions (or in general)” during the Q&A session, the Chinese-American Freeski star replied, “[R]esilience looks different for everyone. It’s definitely not a pretty sight, but I’m proud of mine.”

In an interview with Highsnobiety, she said, “There's countless times that I felt like I was so close to getting a trick, but somehow couldn't do it. I am the definition of blood, sweat, and tears. I have cried so many times, not out of pain, but out of frustration.”

On Messing Up


Gu recalled a time when she was 15 and competing at her first World Cup.

“I missed out on finals by 1 point after messing up a trick I shouldn’t have,” the athlete recounted during the Q&A. “I got rly mad (do not recommend) and hiked a rail in the public park until I got it 10x in a row. I want to clarify I was upset over my skiing and not the result (I was super hyped to even be there) but I was def crying while I hiked and wouldn’t speak to anyone until I got the trick.”

Redeeming Herself

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It was certainly an intense reaction but Gu, who’s a gold medal favorite for China in the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing, was wise enough to use that frustration to get positive results.

“What I mean to say is try to channel ur emotions into redeeming yourself and improving upon your failures,” she continued. “And emotions are ok!! It means u care. But hey! I never messed that trick up in a contest ever again. And I got my first World Cup podium immediately after that one.”

Turning Failure To Success


The X Games gold medalist has a very sensible attitude towards failure, saying, “Nobody likes failure. But the next time I’m about to call it a day early I try to remind myself of how I felt the last time I was unhappy w a competition result, and usually that memory is enough to spur me into a few more reps.”

She ended the Q&A by tagging fellow ski personalities Jaime Melton, Brad Prosser and Misra Noto, joking that they know “it’s best to stay out of range while I’m rage hiking.”