Asian Americans dominate the podium at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics
In particular, many Asian American athletes dominated the podium, including Nathan Chen, Chloe Kim and Eileen Gu, who all won gold medals amid fierce competition from other athletes.
On February 8, the Chinese-American skater Nathan Chen won his first gold medal in the men’s individual skating competition. With a free program of 218.63 points and a short program of 113.97 points, Chen’s total score of 332.60 was far ahead of Japan’s Yuma Kagiyama and Shoma Uno, who won silver and bronze respectively. Chen is the first American male skater to win gold since Evan Lysacek in 2010 and the seventh all-time.
Korean-American snowboarder Chloe Kim won her second gold medal on February 10 in the snowboard halfpipe. Kim is the first woman to win two gold medals in halfpipe snowboarding. At the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, she placed first in the halfpipe at just 17 years old, becoming the youngest woman to win an Olympic gold medal in snowboarding.
Kim’s opening performance included a series of tricks such as the forward and reverse 1080, making for a flawless run. Kim joins American snowboarder Shaun White as the only snowboarders to defend their Olympic halfpipe titles.
California native Eileen Gu won three medals for China, two gold medals in freestyle skiing big air and halfpipe, and a silver in freestyle skiing slopestyle.
Initially behind the French Tess Ledeux in the big air freestyle skiingGu perfectly executed a jump of 1620, a trick she had never tried before in competition, to overtake Ledeux with a score of 188.25.
Gu’s score of 86.23 trailed Switzerland’s Mathilde Gremaud in the freeski slopestyle, leaving her with a silver medal. After falling to the third rail on her second attempt, she finished eighth. But on Gu’s last run, she was able to hit trick after trick, including a double cork 1080 to land her just 0.33 from gold.
On February 17, Gu won gold in the freeski halfpipe with a score of 95.25, becoming the first freeski athlete to medal in three events at the same Games.
Her performances sparked controversy as she was born and raised in San Francisco, but chose to compete for his mother’s home country. Despite this, Gu has maintained a neutral duality and hopes to connect both his Chinese and American heritage.
“When I’m in the United States, I’m American, but when I’m in China, I’m Chinese,” Gu often said in interviews, according to New York Times.
These three champions were candid about the issues they faced. In 2021, Kim sat down with an interview with ESPN share the harassment she faced as an Asian American woman.
“Just because I’m a professional athlete or won the Olympics doesn’t mean I’m exempt from racism,” Kim told ESPN.
It’s safe to say that all three athletes showed excellence in Beijing. Representation is also a bright light in the middle of the increase in anti-Asian hate crimes the last two years.
“So much Asian American excellence at the Olympics. You do us proud. Your strength, your sacrifices, your creativity, your vision, and your passion. We see you,” Korean-American author Min Jin Lee tweeted.