HomeBad Ass Asians12 Asian Americans on Team USA

12 Asian Americans on Team USA

Hailey Langland
Hailey Langland will compete in Snowboard Big-Air at the Winter Olympics.

Views from the Edge

The kids are alright!

At my age, I think it’s OK for me to describe the young Asian American Olympians as kids.

That’s not meant to be an insult or to denigrate the hours upon hours of training they put into their sport, that’s just a reminder, no matter the outcome of their efforts, they are among the best the United States has to offer. They’re just teenagers or young adults who grew up listening to the same music, watching the same TV shows, reading the same news stories, getting basically the same classroom education as all of America’s children.

But … they are special! They’ll be competing at the Winter Games being held in Pyeongcheng, South Korea which starts Friday, Feb. 9.

In order to reach the level of athleticism that they will be competing at, they’ve had to be disciplined, dedicated and willing to sacrifice their time that they might have used to do what us ordinary mortals do: make friends, go on dates, party all night, overindulge in junk food.

For the next couple of weeks, they will put everything on the line as they compete against the best-of-the-best athletes from other countries – other kids. They will soar, twirl, race to represent their country – our country.

NBC broadcast these commercials featuring Nathan Chen and Chloe Kim – both of whom are expected to medal – to promote their coverage of the Games:

Since most people of color come from warmer climates, it is not surprising that the winter sports are dominated by people who grew up in snow country. Scandinavian countries, Germany, France, Italy, Canada traditionally do well in the Winter Games. Throw in the U.S.A,, too, because we pour in a lot of money into those developing athletes.

And let’s face it: You won’t find whole lot of bobsled runs, ice rinks or ski jumps in most big city neighborhoods. Accessibility to those venues is limited and the cost to go skiing is beyond a lot of people. Therefore, the winter sports don’t have a whole lot of diversity.

Team USA numbers 243 athletes, which is the largest team any nation has sent to a Winter Olympics. Of that group, only 10 are African American — 4 percent — 12 are Asian American.

“We’re not quite where we want to be,” said Jason Thompson, the USOC’s director of diversity and inclusion. “. . . I think full-on inclusion has always been a priority of Team USA. I think everybody’s always felt it should represent every American.”

That’s an understatement. The Summer Olympic team the USA sent to Brazil two years ago, of the 550 athletes, 23 percent (or 125) of the athletes were African American.

Asian Americans on Team USA
Men’s Figure Skating:

Nathan Chen
Vincent Zhou

Women’s Figure Skating

Karen Chen
Mirai Nagasu

Ice Dance Pairs

Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani
Madison Chock with partner Evan Bates

Speed Skaters

JR Celski
Thomas Hong
Aaron Tran

Snowboarding Half-pipe

Chloe Kim

Snowboarding Big Air

Hailey Langland

The opening ceremony for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, takes place 6-8 a.m. EST on Friday. (Feb. 9) Don’t worry, the channels will undoubtedly replay the ceremonies later in the day.

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