Eileen Gu is so good at so many things that it makes you (meaning me) reconsider how you think about yourself (meaning myself); besides maybe sports blogs, I’m not sure I do anything better than her. The 18-year-old Gu is a future Stanford student with a nearly perfect SAT score (1580 out of 1600) and a thriving modelling career that’s included campaigns for Fendi, Gucci, Tiffany and Louis Vuitton; last summer, she was the cover model and guest-editor for Vogue Hong Kong’s July issue. Oh, and she’s the best women’s freestyle skier in the world, favored to take home three gold medals in the Big Air, slopestyle and halfpipe events at this month’s Olympics.
Gu’s impending star-turn is basically fait accompli at this point. Although she’s only been competing professionally for a few seasons, she’s already reimagining what’s possible in the sport, attempting—and landing!—tricks that no woman has ever successfully done.
In an unmistakable declaration of her dominance, she posted a video to Instagram of her casually landing a double cork 1440 (four full spins with two off-axis rotations), which no woman has ever done before. Whereas most freestyle skiers are taut, coiled balls of muscle, Gu cuts a more elegant presence in the air—if not for the fact that all freestyle skiing seems impossible and terrifying, Gu makes it look fairly effortless.