Eileen Gu's victory at the ESPY Awards has been met with an angry reaction in some quarters ©Getty Images

Right-wing media outlets and personnel have expressed outrage at an Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly (ESPY) Award being given to Chinese-American skier and three-time Olympic freestyle medallist Eileen Gu, after her achievements at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

Gu, who won the women's Big Air and halfpipe finals at the Games as well as silver in slopestyle at the age of 18, claimed two accolades - most notably the Best Breakthrough Athlete, as well as Best Female Action Sports Athlete.

The ESPYs are open to all sports people regardless of nationality.

Gu defeated Ja Morant of the National Basketball Association team Memphis Grizzlies, Trinity Rodman of National Women's Soccer League side Washington Spirit and National Football League running back Jonathan Taylor of Indianapolis Colts for the breakthrough prize.

In the action sports category, Gu bested American snowboarder Chloe Kim, Brazilian skateboarder Rayssa Leal and New Zealand snowboarder Zoi Sadowski-Synnott.

Kim and Sadowski-Synnott claimed Olympic titles at Beijing 2022, while Leal won silver at Tokyo 2020.

Gu, who was born and raised in the United States before choosing to compete for the home nation of her mother, China, was the home star at Beijing 2022 with her three medals and was regarded as the face of the Games.

In the US, her citizenship and allegiance were questioned at the time of her victories.

Eileen Gu posing with one of her prizes at the ESPYs ©Getty Images
Eileen Gu posing with one of her prizes at the ESPYs ©Getty Images

When she announced in 2019 that she would compete for China and was keen to compete at Beijing 2022, Gu said she hoped "to help inspire millions of young people" in China and "to unite people, promote common understanding, create communication, and forge friendships between nations."

Among them was conservative news outlet The Daily Caller - which has had links to white supremacist writers during its 12-year existence - which wrote a tweet calling for the award to be given to American athletes who do not like China, despite it being an award open to all nationalities.

"Maybe we should give an award like that to American athletes who don’t support China," it read on Twitter.

The Daily Caller was regarded as the least-trusted news organisation by Americans in an October 2018 Simmons Research survey of 38 outlets and has been criticised for misinformation and platforming conspiracies. 

Derek Hunter, former writer at The Daily Caller and podcaster, called Gu a "communist sell-out."

"The best communist sell-out to a genocidal regime for a pile of money goes to...Eileen Gu!" he said on Twitter.

Hunter resigned from his position at The Daily Caller in 2020 after being implicated in an alleged cryptocurrency fraudulent scheme involving disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

A facility believed to be one of the Uyghur Muslim camps in China ©Getty Images
A facility believed to be one of the Uyghur Muslim camps in China ©Getty Images

Comments on Twitter also criticised Gu's decision to compete for China, a nation with severe human rights abuses, notably for alleged mistreatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.

Uyghurs are believed to be in concentration camps in Xinjiang, but China says these are re-education camps, focused on integration.

Censorship, curbs on freedom of expression in Hong Kong and the disappearance of tennis player Peng Shuai were other areas of concern.

Gu referred to herself as American in an interview in May of this year, but previously said: "Nobody can deny I'm American, nobody can deny I'm Chinese.

"When I'm in the US, I'm American, but when I'm in China, I'm Chinese."

Gu is the only freestyle skier to win three medals at the same Games and is the joint-most-successful freestyle skier in Olympic history alongside American David Wise.