Meet the Team Kellogg’s athletes here and follow the evolution of their stories as they share what gets them started each day. Additionally, the athletes will be featured on their very own Kellogg’s limited-edition cereal boxes, available at grocery retailers nationwide in December.
Reigning 2017 U.S. men’s figure skating champion Nathan Chen focuses on small steps each day in order to attain his larger goals. Whether he sets his sights on lifting more weight or working on choreography during training, he knows that he is one step closer to his dream by accomplishing his daily goals. Nathan will appear on boxes of Corn Flakes®.
Oftentimes, many Super Bowl advertisers will “leak” their TV commercials on the Internet prior to the Super Bowl to generate some buzz. NBC is no different. Well, NBC posted recently a TV ad for the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics, which they will be airing as well as the Super Bowl, so it makes sense for them to inform the U.S. public that during the Super Bowl. And one ad that caught my eye is with Korean American Olympian Chloe Kim and her dad:
She is already being called the Shaun White of women’s snowboarding.
“Like the fabled Flying Tomato, the 5’2″, 115-pound Kim is redefining what is considered possible in the halfpipe, having become the only woman to land back-to-back 1080s. (She did it for the first time at the 2016 U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix, joining White as the only riders to score a perfect 100 on a run at that event.) At the 2016 X Games, Kim won two gold medals at the tender age of 15 and ever since has been the presumptive golden girl in PyeongChang. In fact, Kim would have qualified for the U.S. Olympic team in 2014, but was too young.”
“Jong Jin immigrated to Southern California from South Korea as a young man, arriving with $800 in cash. He bought a used car and found work at a gas station. On one of his first days, a coworker asked for a ride home and promptly stole the car and all of Jong Jin’s remaining cash. He found another minimum-wage job and eventually matriculated at Long Beach State. Jong Jin earned his real estate license and saved enough money to buy a duplex, where the family lived while renting out the other floor. He would go on to amass substantial real estate holdings, including a condo in Mammoth Lakes.”
Best of luck to Chloe at the Winter Olympics!
After I finished writing the above, I discovered that there was another NBC Winter Olympics Super Bowl ad with an Asian American – Nathan Chen:
“With five quadruple jumps in his long program, figure skater Nathan Chen deserves to arrive in Pyeongchang, South Korea, for the 2018 Winter Olympics with a little James Brown-like swagger. And, yeah, he deserves his own Super Bowl commercial about it, too.
So NBC delivered. In the spot above — the second of five 60-second “Best of U.S.” athlete films, featuring five American athletes, which will all air on Super Bowl Sunday — Chen pays “the cost to be the boss,” working hard, falling and getting back up, and eventually earning the spotlight and the respect of a bunch of hockey players, all set to James Brown’s “The Boss.” “You see a bad mutha” ready to tell the rest of the world “told you so!” with every single one of those jaw-dropping four-revolution jumps (shown in slow-motion here for maximum impact).”
So how cool is that? This is the beginning of CHENSANITY!
Best of luck to both Chloe Kim and Nathan Chan, and all Olympians!
Back on Monday, December 11th, the Warriors held their annual Asian Heritage Night celebration game against the Portland Trail Blazers, with the Crystal Children’s Choir performing the national anthem and San Jose Taiko providing the half-time entertainment.
“Crystal Children’s Choir was founded in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1994. Since then, it has grown into an organization of over one thousand members. Choir members rehearse every week with their respective ages and skill levels in four Bay Area cities – Cupertino, Fremont, Foster City, and San Jose. … We aspire to be cultural ambassadors of children’s choral music, especially in the field of Chinese folk songs and newly commissioned works. Through a unique musical and life-enhancing education offering to its choristers, Crystal Children’s Choir hopes to nurture teamwork, love of music, and excellence in choral singing among younger generations.”
Since 1973, San Jose Taiko has captivated global audiences and critics alike with the powerful sounds of the taiko.
Inspired by traditional Japanese drumming, company performers express the beauty of the human spirit through the voice of the taiko, creating a vibrant, contemporary art form as they strive to connect people through cultural understanding, creative expression, and rhythmic heartbeat.
San Jose Taiko was founded by young Asian Americans searching for an outlet to convey their experiences as third generation Japanese Americans, or Sansei. Looking to Japan for inspiration, they were drawn to the empowering sounds of the taiko – the Japanese drum – an instrument that embodies the spiritual essence and heartbeat of Japan.
As for the game itself, the Golden State Warriors are an exceedingly good team, so I never really had any doubt that the Warriors would win the game against Portland, which they did – even though star players such as Stephen Curry and Draymond Green didn’t play due to injuries.
“U.S. Figure Skating announced today the ice dance teams who will compete at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 as part of the U.S. Olympic Figure Skating Team.
The ice dance team is Madison Chock and Evan Bates, Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, and Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani.
Madison Chock and Evan Bates are the 2018 U.S. bronze medalists. They are the 2015 U.S. champions, 2016 World bronze medalists and placed eighth at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. After winning silver at both of their Grand Prix assignments this season, they qualified for their fourth-straight Grand Prix Final.
Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani are two-time U.S. champions. They topped the podium at both of their Grand Prix assignments this season before earning bronze at the Grand Prix Final. They are the 2017 World bronze medalists, 2016 World silver medalists, and placed ninth at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.”
Maia & Alex Shibutani were amazing. I remember seeing others post about them on Facebook, and you should take a look at yourself at how talented they are.
This will be their *second* trip to the Olympics, as they competed also in 2014. Amazing.
Additionally, Asian American Madison Chock and her ice dancing partner Evan Bates made the team as well, and I also had the opportunity to see them perform for the free skate routine.
Photo by 8Asians
From Wikipedia, Chock’s background is: “She is of Chinese-Hawaiian descent on her father’s side, and German, English, Irish, French, and Dutch descent on her mother Barbara Hall’s side.” Chock doesn’t sound like a Chinese last name to me, but perhaps it was anglicized non-traditionally.
2018 U.S. Championships Ice Dancing Press Conference
“U.S. Figure Skating announced today the men who will compete at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 as part of the U.S. Olympic Figure Skating Team.
The men’s singles team is Nathan Chen, Adam Rippon and Vincent Zhou.
Nathan Chen is the 2018 U.S. champion, successfully defending his 2017 title. Chen entered the 2018 U.S. Championships as the only undefeated male skater in the 2017-18 season, winning two Grand Prix Series titles and the Grand Prix Final. Chen is the only man in the world to receive credit for landing five different types of quadruple jumps in international competition.
Adam Rippon is the 2016 U.S. champion, and placed fourth at the 2018 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships. After winning silver at both of his Grand Prix Series assignments this season, Rippon earned his second-straight trip to the Grand Prix Final, where he placed fifth.
Vincent Zhou is the 2018 U.S. bronze medalist. He won the 2017 U.S. silver medal and ended last season as the 2017 World Junior champion. Chen has won U.S. titles at the intermediate (2011), novice (2012) and junior (2013) levels.
Alternates for the 2018 men’s Olympic Team have been named as Jason Brown (first alternate),Ross Miner (second alternate), and Max Aaron (third alternate).”
Palo Alto native Vincent Zhou, was selected as the third member of the men’s figure skating team. To be honest, I don’t really follow Zhou even though he lives in the next town over, and only usually follow figure skating during the Olympics unless I happen to catch it on TV.
After the press conference, I had the chance to ask Zhou a question towards the end of the concurrent individual interview sessions of the press conference, asking him what was about Palo Alto that produced athletes such as Jeremy Lin and himself. He obviously recognized what I was getting at and responded (minute 5:56)
(Of course that spineless racist tweeter deleted that tweet. I’d love to really found out who that tweeter was …)
To be honest, I was a little surprised that Zhou had received such a tweet, since I had not heard of other such racist tweets regarding Mirari Nigasu, Karen Chen or even Nathen Chen. But in the press conference, Zhou reiterated what he had tweeted. After that response, I felt that I was definitely happy to have asked my question regarding Zhou and his Asian American background.
Since I knew Nathan Chen was going to bombarded by reporters, I wanted to focus in on Vincent Zhou (and also, since he lives in the next town over, I figured I might be able to interview him down the road – though I haven’t had a chance to interview Jeremy Lin yet …). With some time remaining, I moved over to see what Chen was answering:
I think at this point in time, Chen is highly likely to medal at the Olympics and has a very good chance to win the Gold. From the past few days of observing Chen, he is supremely confident and a bit stoic and a bit matter-of-fact, something that his teammate Adam Rippon said that he was quite the opposite (with Chen nodding in approval of his description of their skating styles and personalities).
“Mirai Nagasu (Pasadena FSC), the 2008 U.S. champion, earned a silver medal with 213.84 points, ahead of Karen Chen (Peninsula FSC), the 2017 U.S. champion, who secured the bronze medal with a score of 198.59 points. Three-time U.S. champion Ashley Wagner (SC of Wilmington) finished fourth with 196.19.”
Bradie Tennell is the 2018 U.S. champion. She won the U.S. junior title in 2015 and the bronze medal at Bridgestone Skate America earlier this season. Her short program score of 73.79 at the 2018 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships marked a new U.S. record.
Mirai Nagasu is the 2018 U.S. silver medalist. She won the U.S. ladies title in 2008 and placed fourth at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia. She is the second American woman in history to land a triple Axel in international competition.
Karen Chen is the 2018 U.S. bronze medalist. She won the U.S. ladies title in 2017, and is the 2015 U.S. bronze medalist. Her fourth-place performance at the 2017 World Figure Skating Championships secured three ladies spots for the United States at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
Alternates for the 2018 Olympic Team have been named as Ashley Wagner (first alternate), Mariah Bell(second alternate), and Angela Wang (third alternate).
After the press conference, Tennell, Nagasu & Chen sat down for press interviews for about 30 minutes. Here are about, in total, 5 minutes of video clips:
Note: I focused on Chen since I wanted to ask, but didn’t get a chance, to see – if she knew – if she was possibly the first Taiwanese American to represent the United States for women’s individual figure skating.
Over the weekend, the World Series broke my heart. First, being a Dodgers fan, the way they have lost have crushed the soul out of me… and then there was the whole Yuli Gurriel incident after hitting the home run off of Japanese/Iranian picture Yu Darvish.
In case you’ve been living in a cave, here is the image of what he did:
But just to keep it in context, he wasn’t the first to do it and won’t be the last. Here is a list of other people who did the same thing.
The Spanish Tennis Federation:
The Spanish Men’s basketball team:
Miley Cyrus and friends:
Brazilian tennis player:
Uruguayan soccer player:
Another baseball player:
A failed one, but the intent was there… Kate Gosselin:
Argentinian soccer team:
And there are others. Lots of others. In fact, so many I got tired of saving images off of Google and uploading them here. Let’s just be clear, these are not okay and not funny. And WE ARE OFFENDED.
In July, I went with my family and friends to Las Vegas to watch my Los Angeles Lakers play in the Summer League. For those who don’t know, Summer League is sort of like Major League Baseball’s spring training but with rookies and second year players. This year was an extra special because we got to watch the young UCLA phenomenon and Lakers’ #2 draft pick Lonzo Ball play—by the way, he’s as good as advertised.
Because Vegas is so close to LA, many of the people who go to Summer League games are there to see the Lakers. In other words, it means you have to get there early if you want to score good seats—other than the front rows, seating is open. On the night we went, the Lakers were playing at 7:00 pm so we got there around four.
It’s not that exciting to watch games where you don’t have a vested interest in the players or the team. So we were watching the non-Lakers games sort of passively. And being the father of a five-year-old who has the attention span of a gnat, I spent a lot of the non-Lakers games trying to keep my son amused and well fed. That’s why it took me a while before I noticed something unusual.
During the Boston-Dallas game people were going crazy and cheering every time one player touched the ball. I quickly realized it was the Asian (Chinese) player, Ding Yanyuhang. Not only would they cheer, but they would shout MVP. Here’s a YouTube clip I found. Around minute 2:14 you can hear the audience chanting.
I did not cheer or chant because I wasn’t sure if the crowd was genuinely excited to see this particular Asian player or because they were mocking him. My first instinct was that they were making fun of him. Of course, I assume they were going for the old cliché that Asian guys are short and can’t play sports—this even though Ding is 6’7”.
When I realized what was going on, I asked my friends if they thought the crowd was mocking Ding. They all shrugged—they weren’t sure either. I would like to note that none of them participated in the cheering or chanting with the rest of the crowd.
I would have overlooked all of this had I not heard what was coming out of the mouths of a group of young girls about half-dozen rows above me. They were making chopstick references as they cheered Ding on. I turned around and glared at them and tried to catch the eye of one of the parents or chaperones but they didn’t notice me.
Thinking back now, I would like to believe that the entire arena wasn’t being racist—or at the very least insensitive. I mean, I would have thought that with the successes of Asian baseball players and Yao Ming/Jeremy Lin, we would be past the stereotype that Asians couldn’t play sports.
To be fair, no one was shouting racist epithets at the player—as far as I knew—and there were Asians (Americans?) in the arena who were cheering along with everyone else—even in the above clip. And I only found this out while writing this article, but Ding really was the MVP of the Chinese league. So shouting MVP was at least accurate because he was in fact a most valuable player—although I’d be surprised if the crowd watching the game that day actually knew that.
The reason I’m writing this a month after it happened is because it still bothers me. I vacillate between feeling outraged and also wondering if I was being too sensitive. What do you think?
NBA / Brooklyn Nets basketball player Jeremy Lin during the offseason returns to his native Bay Area for a short while before he does his annual pilgrimage to Asia – usually Taiwan and China, where he has a strong fan base. Recently, he posted what life is like on YouTube when he’s back:
I heart professional sports. I love baseball, basketball, and football. I’m mostly obsessed with my local teams (Dodgers, Lakers, USC, and now Chargers). To prove it, I spend way too much time on fantasy sports. (On a side note, I’m the commissioner of a dynasty football league and we’re looking for a new owner so if interested, hit me up). That’s why when I tried to figure out what I should write about, I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t done a top five Asian American athletes article for 8Asians before.
Figuring out a top five was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. First, I’ll be honest, the list was going to be a top ten. However, I realized right away that finding ten Asian American athletes I wanted to talk about was going to be a lot harder than I originally thought. Five seemed way more manageable.
Then, I had to decide which sports to include. Because I’m most knowledge about the three major sports in the United States, I decided to limit it to those—so baseball, basketball, and football. This means that I don’t mention the Olympians (Kristi Yamaguchi, Apolo Anton Ohno, Michelle Kwan, Sammy Lee, and others that I’m probably missing), golfers (Tiger Woods, Michelle Wie), or a tennis star (Michael Chang). My apologies to all of them. They are all amazing athletes and some played formative roles in my life. You can’t find a Japanese American who was around in the 1990s who didn’t swell with pride watching Kristi Yamaguchi in the Olympics or an Asian American kid from the late 80s, who didn’t play tennis because of Michael Chang.
And finally, this list does not include any Asian Asians (in other words, people who were born in Asia and do not consider themselves Asian American). This means that stars such as Hideo Nomo, Chan Ho Park, Yao Ming, Ichiro Suzuki, Yu Darvish or countless others are not eligible.
Because the list was limited to my top five, there were some names I had to leave off. Here are some of the other athletes that I considered for this list that deserve to be mentioned: Major League Baseball players Ron Darling, Don Wakamatsu, Kurt Suzuki, Travis Ishikawa, NBA and Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson, and NFL football players Hines Ward, Tedy Bruschi, Troy Polamalu, Rey Maualuga, Edward Wang. Also, it should be mentioned that on principle, I cannot include any San Francisco Giant. So Tim Lincecum is not eligible. Sorry Giant fans—your team sucks this year by the way.
Without further ado, here is my list of top five Asian American athletes.
#5: DAT NGUYEN
Dat was a star linebacker for Texas A&M and played five years for the Dallas Cowboys. He has the tenth most career tackles in Dallas history. He was the first Vietnamese American to play in the NFL.
Why I chose Dat? Despite being a USC Trojans fan, I remember what it meant to me to see Dat Nguyen on the field at Texas and then later Dallas. Everyone said he was too small and slow to play in the NFL, but he never listened to his critics. He took pride in being the baddest linebacker on any field he played on.
#4: KENICHI ZENIMURA
Kenichi is known as the “Father of Japanese American baseball.” Among many accomplishments, he was responsible for bringing Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig on a barnstorming tour of Japan, which is credited for baseball’s popularity in the country. But most importantly, he was instrumental in creating a baseball league in the Gila Riva Interment camp.
Why did I chose Kenichi? Unlike the other athletes on this list, Kenichi’s role was more of an ambassador than a player. He was the main force behind a Japanese American baseball league in the deserts of an internment camp that made life just a little more bearable and fun for those incarcerated.
#3: WATARU “WAT” MISAKA
Wat was the first non-white player and first Asian American to play in the NBA.
Why did I chose Wat? Despite having only played three games in the NBA, he is a legend in my book. He broke the NBA’s color barrier the same year that Jackie Robinson did it in baseball. But the thing that people forget about Wat, he was actually a hell of a basketball player. At five feet and seven inches, he led his college basketball team to an NCAA championship in 1944.
#2: TIANA BAUL SEAU JR. aka: JUNIOR SEAU
Junior is a hall of fame linebacker who played nineteen years in the NFL for the San Diego Charger, Miami Dolphins, and the New England Patriots.
Why I chose Junior? Junior was a stud. First round draft pick. Defense player of the year. Multiple Pro-Bowls. Linebacker of the Year. Super Bowl Champion. Hall of famer. And of course USC alumni. But what I remember about him was the 1994 championship game where he played with a pinched nerve in his neck and somehow still managed to get 16 tackles.
#1 Jeremy Lin
Jeremy is an NBA guard who has played for the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Charlotte Hornets and Brooklyn Nets. He has averaged twelve points and four and a half assists in his career.
Why I chose Jeremy? This was a rather obvious choice. All I have to say is Linsanity. Most people remember him because of those few weeks in New York. But the reality is that he’s had a very successful career. And frankly, he’s the guy every young Asian American basketball player who has ever played the game wants to be.
Ben “Ben 10” Nguyen will most likely move up the UFC Flyweight ranks with his 49 second submission of #9 ranked Tim Elliott at UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Hunt. #12 ranked flyweight Nguyen was scheduled to fight #2 ranked Joseph Benavidez, but after Benavidez pulled out of the match with an injury, Ultimate Fighter winner #8 ranked Tin Elliott became his new opponent. Nguyen stunned Elliott with a head kick and a knee, and when Elliott threw him with a head and arm throw, Nguyen took his back and submitted him. The head and arm throw is a risky move in MMA, as it exposes the thrower’s back. Michelle Waterson used it successfully in her win over Paige VanZant, but against Rose Namajunas, she ended getting her back taken in a similar fashion to Elliott. “Ben 10” received a performance bonus for his quick and vicious work.
At the end of the match, Nguyen ask the crowd if they thought that the fight was boring. He was referring to thoughts by the UFC to get rid of the flyweight division as it did not seem to be popular, despite division champion Demetrious Johnson being ranked as the best pound for pound fighter. I hope that they don’t get rid of the division, especially as Ben Nguyen is gaining prominence not just for beating up a tattooed bully but also winning 4 out 5 matches in the Octagon.
While John Wall is one of the fastest point guards in the NBA and is acknowledged for his athleticism, there is another point guard that is almost as fast whose athleticism isn’t as highly regarded. In the above video that I learned about from this article, Jeremy Lin comments that when he came into the league, his speed numbers were almost as fast as John Wall’s. John Wall was considered “athletic” but he was merely “deceptively athletic.” He goes on to talk about Asian American masculinity and “yellow fever.” While we have talked about Asian American masculinity before, these are not subjects Lin often talks about, and it’s interesting to hear it from a high profile Asian American male.
You may be wondering, is this real news that Lin is citing, about being called “deceptively athletic?” I did find the actual media reference here, where former head coach and commentator Jeff Van Gundy calls him that during the Linsanity period. In addition, while the Slam Online story starts the video when Jeremy Lin speaks, the first part of the whole video is some commentary by Kevin Kreider, who took the video and posted it. Kreider is a personal trainer and former model.