Breaking Barriers: Eileen Gu Shatters Tennis Dominance in Forbes' Highest-Earning Female Athletes of 2023
BY: Michelle Liew
In a historic turn of events, Forbes' list of the richest female athletes in 2023 showcases a significant breakthrough, with five outstanding athletes of mixed Asian heritage making their mark in the top 10. This unprecedented achievement signals a shift in the sports landscape, challenging the traditional dominance of tennis players on the financial podium.
Topping the list is none other than the world-renowned tennis prodigy, Iga Swiatek, who secured the coveted No. 1 spot by amassing a staggering US$23.9 million (RM110.6 million) in earnings throughout the year. However, what steals the spotlight is the formidable presence of five female athletes from the Asian continent who have excelled both on and off the court.
Making waves at the second position is the United States-China hybrid snowboarder, Eileen Gu, whose exceptional year saw her raking in an impressive US$22.1 million (RM102.3 million). Eileen's meteoric rise began last year when she played a pivotal role in China's Winter Olympics success, securing two gold medals in Beijing.
Coco Gauff, the 19-year-old tennis sensation, claimed the third spot with earnings totalling US$21.7 million (RM127.6 million). Gauff's stellar performances throughout the WTA season contributed to her remarkable financial success.
Adding to the groundbreaking lineup are Emma Raducanu (Britain-China) at the fourth position, Naomi Osaka (Japan-US) at No. 5, Jessica Pegula (USA-South Korea) at No. 7, and Leylah Fernandez (Canada-Philippines) rounding out the top 10. Each athlete has demonstrated prowess in their respective sports, solidifying their status as not only champions on the field but also financial powerhouses off it.
Eileen Gu's story is particularly noteworthy, as her hybrid identity reflects the evolving nature of global sports. Her contribution to China's Winter Olympics triumph has undoubtedly elevated her status, and her financial success reflects the growing popularity of winter sports in regions not traditionally associated with them.
Not to mention, she is the only athlete in the Top 5 that is not a tennis player, marking a significant departure from the preceding lists.
Eileen Gu has emerged as a trailblazer in the Asian community, leaving an indelible mark through her exceptional achievements in snowboarding. Born in the United States to a Chinese mother and an American father, Gu's dual heritage reflects the evolving nature of global sports.
At the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, she captured the world's attention by securing two gold medals, making her a symbol of pride for both China and the Asian community at large. Eileen's groundbreaking success not only shattered stereotypes about winter sports but also inspired countless individuals within the Asian diaspora to pursue their passions and dreams, transcending cultural and geographical boundaries. In addition to her athletic prowess, Gu's journey serves as a testament to the power of diversity and representation in the world of sports, resonating deeply with admirers across the Asian community.
This groundbreaking representation of athletes of mixed Asian heritage in the upper echelons of financial success is a testament to the diversity and inclusivity within the world of sports. As these
exceptional women continue to break barriers, they inspire a new generation of athletes to dream big and challenge conventions, proving that excellence knows no boundaries.