The 2008 Beijing Olympics kicks off today on the luckiest day (08.08.08). The games run through from August 8 to August 24, 2008. 10,500 athletes are expected to compete in 302 events in 28 sports. We shifted through the list of athletes to compile a list of Asian American participating in the Games of the XXIX Olympiad. Here’s what we can up with:
Howard Bach competes in men’s doubles with Khan “Bob” Malaythong and in mixed doubles with Eva Lee. He began playing badminton at the age of 7 at the Golden Gate YMCA in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District where his Dad played. Along with English, the Vietnam-born Bach speaks some Cantonese and Mandarin.
Eva Lee competes in women’s singles, women’s doubles (with May Mangkalikiri) and mixed doubles. The Hong Kong-born Lee is currently attending University of California – Irvine.
Khan “Bob” Malaythong
Bob Malaythong competes in men’s doubles with 2004 Olympian and 2005 World Champion Howard Bach and in mixed doubles with May Mangkalakiri. He was born in Laos and speaks Laotian. Bob works as a part-time badminton coach at the Orange County Badminton Club in Orange,CA.
Mesinee “May” Mangkalakiri
May Mangkalakiri competes with Eva Lee in women’s doubles and Bob Malaythong in mixed doubles. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degreee in Social Ecology at the University of California, Irvine in June 2006. The job she is most proud of doing is passing on what she have learned in badminton to the many kids in the U.S. Badminton Development Foundation/Orange County Badminton Club youth badminton group program.
Rajiv “Raju” Kumar Rai
Raju Rai competes in Men’s Singles. He trains at the Orange County Badminton Club in Orange, CA. Hopes to one day become an optometrist.
Haley Ishimatsu was a gymnast before becoming a diver. She is one of only three female divers to perform a back 3 1/2 pike (degree of difficulty is 3.6) and was the only female to do that dive at the 2008 World Cup.
Amy Tran is the field goalkeeper for the USA Field Hockey team. She was named World Cup Goalkeeper of the Tournament by collecting three shutouts in World Cup play vs. Japan (0-0), Korea (1-0) and Germany (1-0) to help the USA to a 6th place World Cup finish.
Kayla plays as defender and midfielder. The Korean-born athlete began playing field hockey at age 15 when approached by the school’s field hockey coach to try a fall sport.
Kevin’s favorite event is the rings. He is of Chinese descent, and his given name is Kai Wen. He gradutaed Pennsylvania State University with a Finance degree.
Raj’s favorite event is the rings. He graduated with a degree in Business Administration/Marketing from Ohio State University.
Sayaka’s favorite techniques are the Uchimata (inner thigh throw) and o soto gari (major outer leg throw). She was born in Japan and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. The third degree blackbelt began studying judo at the age of 5, under the instruction of her father, David Matsumoto.
Taylor is a native of Hawaii. He has attended San Jose State University and University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
Sandra participates in the Air Rifle and Three-Position Rifle events. The New York native will be attending Princeton University in the fall, where she will major in theater and history of jazz.
Lovieanne “Lovie” Jung
Lovie plays second base and hits right handed. She is a mix of Chinese, Lithuanian, Filipino, Spanish, Hawaiian.
Rebekah “Becky” Kim
Becky attributes her synchronized swimming inspiration to watching the 1996 U.S. National Team strike gold in Atlanta. She has also participated in gymnastics and figure skating.
Annabelle had the goal to compete in the 2008 Olympic Games after watching the U.S. compete in the 2000 Olympic Games. Orme’s mother is Chinese and she hopes to visit the house where her grandparents grew up, not far from Beijing.
Wang currently works as a table tennis club manager. The Beijing native has both English and Chinese songs on her i-Pod.
Crystal is fluent in Chinese and currently resides in San Gabriel, CA.
Jun Gao started playing table tennis when she was five. After winning a silver medal in the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games for her native country China, Gao has since become a U.S. citizen.
David is fluent in Cantonese. His current occupation is table tennis player and coach.
Clarissa is only 4-11. The Hawaiian native attends the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, where she is studying Communications.
Logan plays Outside Hitter. The Chinese-Hawaiian Stanford graduate majored in international relations.
Robyn Ah Mow-Santos
Robyn plays Setter. The Hawaiian native graduated from the University of Hawai’i in 1996 with a degree in sociology.
Lindsey plays Setter. The Hawaiian native graduated in December 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in business/marketing.
Natalie will compete in the 100m backstroke, 100m freestyle, 200m individual medley, 4×100m freestyle relay, 4×200m freestyle relay, and 4×100m medley relay. She currently holds American and US Open records in eight different events in a short course yards pool. In 2004, she was only the third American woman to win five Olympic medals (two gold medals, two silver medals, and a bronze) at one meet. The San Francisco Bay Area native started swimming at age 6 and is part Filipino and part Irish.
Nathan competes in the 4×100m free relay. The UC Berkeley student started swimming at age 5. His mother is Chinese.
Natasha plays the forward position. The Hawaiian native likes to sing and takes after her father, Benny Kai, who is a professional singer at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Oahu. She also has 19 tattoos.
Emily competes in Women’s Foil Fencing. She has fenced on the college team for two years. The Korean HAPA currently attends Harvard University, where she is majoring in Biology on the Honors track.
Track and Field
Bryan participates in the Decathlon (100m run, Long Jump , Shot Put, High Jump, 400m run. The Japanese HAPA’s strongest events are the 100 meters, long jump, the 110m hurdles and the discus. He was influenced by 2000 Olympic decathlon bronze medalist Chris Huffins, who he met as a high school sophomore at a track clinic in Hawaii.
Are we missing someone? let us know.
2008 Beijing Olympics coverage