China’s Eileen Gu takes up Olympic Ambassadorial role — for the U.S.


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Eileen Gu, the top-rated story from the 2022 Olympics, is back in the headlines once again (1:00). She just announced she will be an ambassador for Salt Lake City’s Olympic bid. Is she trying to have her cake and eat it too (2:15)? Mark says she’s overcompensating for her switch from the U.S. to China, but what will the Chinese reaction be (4:15)? Could she even switch back to compete for the US in 2026 (4:55)? With athletes like skater Nathan Chen — a Salt Lake City native — or skier Mikael Shiffrin, what will Eileen Gu do for the bid that others can’t? (7:44) How much do Americans care at this point? Old news or still a story (9:57)? It’s clear she needs to come on the China Sports Insider Podcast (11:24)! Here’s what Mark would ask her if he just had one question (12:10).

At his customary pre-NBA finals press conference, Commissioner Adam Silver talked a lot about China (14:10). Silver was, again, trying to occupy something of a middle ground — and, so far, he seems to be doing OK (15:36). Silver says the NBA gets unfairly singled out. Mark tends to agree: if we give up on sports exchanges, then we might as well give up on diplomacy entirely (17:18).

Our guest this week, Chris Fenton, sits at the intersection of sports, celebrity and China’s global dealings (19:50). Hollywood seems to be turning the corner with regards to China — but where are we with sports (21:06)? Discussion of the WTA taking a stance on the Peng Shuai affair and being rewarded by sponsorship dollars as a result (26:06). But it’s hard to see what a resolution between China and the WTA looks like. When it comes to money, will people always be swayed (28:38)? The WTA, and more recently, the Top Gun movie, shows that you can be profitable while bypassing the China market. Will the men’s tour, the ATP, become the first frog to jump into the boiling water (31:52)? We end with a discussion about ESPN’s recent articles about China and NBA owners — and what this means for the future (35:35).