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Eileen Gu makes history with third medal of Beijing Olympic Games

Gold medalist Eileen Gu of China waves her national flag on the podium after the women's freestyle skiing halfpipe finals at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in Zhangjiakou, China, on Friday. Canada's Cassie Sharpe won the silver medal and Canada's Rachael Karker won the bronze medal. Photo by Bob Strong/UPI
1 of 6 | Gold medalist Eileen Gu of China waves her national flag on the podium after the women's freestyle skiing halfpipe finals at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in Zhangjiakou, China, on Friday. Canada's Cassie Sharpe won the silver medal and Canada's Rachael Karker won the bronze medal. Photo by Bob Strong/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Eileen Gu, skiing for China, has won a historic third medal at the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, taking gold on Friday in the women's freeski halfpipe.

With the win, the California native not only further cements her status as a freeski superstar but also becomes the first freestyle skier to medal in three different events in one Olympics. She had already won gold in the women's freeski big air and silver in slopestyle in Beijing.

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As the reigning world champion, Gu was the favorite to take the gold medal in the event, in which skiers are given three runs in the Secret Garden Olympic Halfpipe to perform aerial tricks that are judged on their level of difficulty and execution. Of the three attempts, only the highest score is used to determine the event's winners.

The 18-year-old won the gold medal with a massive score of 95.25 with the remaining two spots on the podium being filled by Canadians Cassie Sharpe, the event's reigning Olympic champion, who won silver with a score of 90.75, and Rachael Karker, who took the bronze for her score of 87.75.

Gu was the last of the 12 skiers to take her first run down the halfpipe in Genting Show Park, Zhangjiakou, China, and she put herself atop of the leaderboard by scoring a 93.25 for a run that included a cork 900 with a Buick grab.

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She then upped her score to 95.25 on her second run, during which she pulled off a rightside cork 900 and back-to-back alley-oop flat spins.

Knowing she had the gold medal wrapped up as the final skier of the event, she used her third run as a victory lap and performed some simpler tricks to cheers from the home crowd.

As she crossed the finish, Gu embraced Sharpe and Karker who were waiting for her.

"I cannot believe I'm walking out of my first Olympics with two gold medals and a silver medal," she told NBC in an interview. "Eileen Gu, three-time Olympic medalist -- that is just insane for me to think about."

Sharpe's first run included back-to-back 900s and a 1090 and scored an 89, which momentarily put her in first place before being unseated by Gu.

On her second run, Sharpe improved her score by a whole point with two 1080s for a score of 90. And then on her third and final attempt to achieve gold, she pulled off a complex run of huge aerials that netted her a 90.75.

Karker won bronze on her first run of 87.75, which she failed to best in two more attempts.

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