Asian Americans Going for the Gold & thoughts on the Opening Ceremonies

I was in San Francisco yesterday was happy to see a nice profile of all the Asian Americans performing in this latest article from

“The 28 Asian American Olympians featured here will walk with the hundreds of Americans representing the United States at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics on August 8. From the all-Asian American badminton and table tennis teams to the 105-pound female wrestler Clarissa Chun, these athletes have risen to the occasion, defeating stereotypes and hardships, and now represent our nation. AsianWeek congratulates these Olympians as they go for the gold.”

On the cover is San Francisco Bay Area native, Kevin Tan, whom we blogged about in June. I saw Kevin Tan performance over the weekend on the still rings – which is I think his best event. Unfortunately, Tan’s dismount wasn’t so hot and he didn’t advance to the finals for that event.

As for the Opening Ceremonies on Friday, I think it was universally praised by almost everyone – and I’ll include myself in that company. The shear scale of the performance – with 15,000 performers, was pretty amazing. I had heard on NBC that the Chinese had spent more than 10X what was spent in previous Olympics, and spent about $300 million on the performance. You can rewatch it on online here (you need to install Microsoft’s Silverlight first).

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

This is the first Olympics I’ve watched on HD, and it is beautiful and I think the first time I’ve watched 100% of the Opening Ceremonies (including the parade of nations). A Reuters article reported that 15% of the world watched the Olympics. I’m kind of surprised more didn’t, considering that, you know, China is 20% of humanity.

Regarding NBC’s coverage: the co-hosts were Bob Costas and Matt Lauer, with “China analyst” Josh Cooper Ramo. In watching the Opening Ceremonies, Ramo was certainly knowledgeable in explaining the symbolism of many of the performances, but I just had to wonder – couldn’t NBC have found a Chinese-American to have done the same? Wouldn’t it have been nice to have a Chinese-American be an “ambassador” and the China analyst to describe what was going on during the ceremonies? I would think that out of their Beijing office, NBC could have found a Chinese-American to provide some commentary – or hire someone like Connie Chung. (Or maybe that would piss off people.)

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About John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)
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