United States skier Eileen Gu has decided to compete for China at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
The 15-year-old changed her affiliation this month, according to the International Ski Federation.
Gu began competing internationally during the 2017-18 season and has represented the US in the three World Cup stops, winning one gold and one silver medal.
She announced her decision on her Instagram page and said: “I feel that I am competing in skiing to unite two nations, both of which are my home.
“I hope to break the divide between nations through passion and love.”
View this post on Instagram
I have decided to compete for China in the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics. This was an incredibly tough decision for me to make. I am extremely thankful for U.S. Ski & Snowboard ( @usfreeskiteam ) and the Chinese Ski Association for having the vision and belief in me to make my dreams come true. I am proud of my heritage, and equally proud of my American upbringings. The opportunity to help inspire millions of young people where my mom was born, during the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help to promote the sport I love. Through skiing, I hope to unite people, promote common understanding, create communication, and forge friendships between nations. If I can help to inspire one young girl to break a boundary, my wishes will have come true. 🇺🇸 🇨🇳 ❤️
She said she would continue to live, train and go to school in the US, while visiting China during holidays and for competitions.
While the Olympics allow athletes with dual citizenship to choose which country to represent, Gu is required by Chinese law not to keep her American nationality because the country does not recognise dual citizenship.
Gu, who was born and raised in San Francisco to an American father and a mother from Beijing, did not comment on her US citizenship in her social media post.
China is hoping to boost participation in winter sports ahead of hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics and is investing heavily in order to climb the medal table.
China won nine medals in the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, compared with 23 by the US.