Asian American Commercial Watch: Team United & Nathan Chen

While watching the Olympics, I saw this United TV commercial and was surprised to see U.S. figure skater Nathan Chen, since I wasn’t aware that United was one of his sponsors, unlike Kellogg’s, Bridgestone and John Wilson. The super hero-themed commercial itself is a little bit weird if you ask me:

Helping superheroes fly for 38 years. Proud to fly Team USA.

The behind the scenes video on YouTube on how they made the commercial is pretty interesting.

Also, on United’s YouTube channel, they even have a 60 second “origin” video which discusses how Chen got into figure skating:

Congrats to Nathan Chen on his historic performance at the 2018 Winter Olympics!

Let CHENSANITY Begin – Nathan Chen Makes the Cover of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes

When I saw a friend post a photo of her young son with a box of Corn Flakes with Nathan Chen on the cover of the box, I knew I had to see it for myself! Apparently, Kellogg’s thought Chen’s chances of Chen making it to the U.S. Olympic Team was very high, since this was announced last October: “Meet The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hopefuls Who Will Make Up Team Kellogg’s 2018”:

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®.

When I saw a Facebook friend post “CHEN-SANITY” (as in “LINSANITY”) when Chen won the Gold for the 2018 Championships U.S. Figure Skating Men’s Single and named to the 2018 U.S. Olympic Figure Skating Team, I thought I should try to make “CHENSANITY” a thing (without the hyphen – I don’t think LINSANITY was ever hyphenated!

Especially since there is another Chen representing the United States in U.S. Figure Skating – Karen Chen! I hope some cereal company puts Karen on the cover of their box in the near future – with her with an Olympic Gold!

But Kellogg’s is not the only sponsor Nathan Chen has. When I was walking around SAP Center in San Jose during the 2018 Championships (“Nationals”), I saw this Bridgestone cutout of him:

Chen is indeed a part of “Team Bridgestone.”

And to no one’s surprise, Nathan Chen apparently endorses ice skates – by the brand, John Wilson:

Best of luck with Chen in the Olympics!

 

Nathan Chen and Vincent Zhou Make U.S. Men’s 2018 Olympic Figure Skating Team; Zhou Responds to Racist Tweet

Part 2 of the press conference here.

On Sunday, Nathan Chen, Adam Rippon and Vincent Zhou were named to the U.S. Figure Skating Team:

“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).”

 

There was absolutely no doubt, especially after Saturday’s performance, that Nathan Chen would be named to the 2018 U.S. Men’s Olympic Figure skating team. However, the second two spots were up for grabs after some disastrous performances by Adam Rippon and Jason Brown at Nationals. Ultimately, Rippon was selected to be part of the team due to his body of work the past year and beyond.

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)

At first, I think I had noticed one reporter seemed to be a little put off by the question, as if it was not relevant (which annoyed me and definitely reinforced my thoughts on diversity in the newsroom). However, after Zhou answered my question, an Asian/Asian American reporter (I think from a local Chinese language television news station) asked about the racist tweet sent less than several hours ago after Zhou won the Bronze (minute 8:04):

(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).