Maia and Alex Shibutani win first U.S. Ice Dancing title

Angry Asian Man:

On Saturday at the 2016 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in St. Paul, Minnesota, siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani won their first U.S. ice dance title, besting defending champs Madison Chock and Evan Bates.

Performing their free skate to Coldplay’s “Fix You,” the five-time medalists finally broke through and nabbed gold with a final score of 190.14. Chock and Bates finished second with 186.93.

The Shibutanis — affectionately known as the “Shib Sibs” — were U.S. silver medalists in 2011 and 2012, then took bronze in 2013 and 2014, then finished again with the silver last year. And now they’re gold medalists.

Here’s video of their rousing, gold-winning performance:

Link

Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi to host a special 3-episode series “Japanese American Lives” on PBS

 

 Kristi-Yamaguchi-Kolenko-Photorgaphy

Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi will host a special three episode series Japanese American Lives on PBS.

Presented by the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), the programs will explore the “rich and diverse history of Japanese Americans with stories that go beyond the history books.”

The first episode Mrs. Judo: Be Strong, Be Gentle, Be Beautiful  will feature the story of Keiko Fukuda. She is the highest ranking woman in judo history, earning a 10th degree black belt. The episode is directed by Yuriko Gamo Romer. Fukuda died last year at the age of 99.

Check out this link:

Kristi Yamaguchi to host “Japanese American Lives” on PBS

Link

South Korean ice skater Yuna Kim takes lead after Russian teen sensation falls

The Guardian:

 

Yuna Kim of South Korea performs during the women's short program at the 2014 Winter Games.

The South Korean star Yuna Kim overcame a bout of nerves to put herself in prime position for the Olympic gold medal in women’s figure skating on Wednesday, after 15-year-old Russian sensation Julia Lipnitskaia fell on a triple flip and slipped down the rankings.

Nerves almost got the best of Kim in the short program, and her 0.28-point lead over the 17-year-old Russian Adelina Sotnikov is almost as slim as it could get. But Kim, with a snappy routine that had the crowd on its feet before she finished her final spin, showed she is still the favorite to win another title.

Italy’s Carolina Kostner, whose Ave Maria program is almost a religious experience for her, was just behind. Chicago’s Gracie Gold was fourth, within striking distance after overcoming a sense of stage fright.

Lipnitskaia, who won both programs in the team event to help the hosts take the gold, broke down in tears after her routine was marred by the fall. “This does not define her career or who she is as an athlete,” coach Eteri Tutberidze said through a translator. “She simply made a mistake. That’s all. It happens.”

When it happened, the crowd was stunned. And Kim had the lead, but barely, over Sotnikova.

Check out this link:

South Korean ice skater Yuna Kim takes lead after Russian teen sensation falls

url

Link

Why a Korean speed skating star changed his name and started racing for Russia

RocketNews 24:

 

Twelve years ago, South Korea’s Ahn Hyun-soo crashed into Apolo Ohno a few feet from the finish line in the men’s short track 1000m at the Olympics.

It sparked an intense rivalry between the two skaters that peaked at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, where Hyun-soo won three gold medals to Ohno’s one.

On Saturday night in Sochi, the Hyun-soo won gold again. But now his name is Viktor Ahn, and he skates for Russia.

viktor-ahn-russia-1

Ahn’s story is an example of how nationality is often secondary to the financial demands of being a professional athlete in an Olympic sport.

In 2011 Ahn fell out of favor with the South Korean short track federation. Injuries kept him out of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and at age 26 he was getting old for a short track skater.

With the deepest, most talented short track team in the world, they didn’t need him.

▼ Ahn in 2006

viktor-ahn-korea

South Korean journalist Yoo Jee-ho told the New York Times that the public thought Ahn was mistreated by the short track federation:

He is seen as a sympathetic figure. Here is a guy who’d done so much for the country at the Olympics and the world championships, but injuries and some politics outside his control kept him from returning to his glory days.

To keep his career alive, he looked for any country that would have him, and that’s how Ahn Hyun-soo became Viktor Ahn.

The U.S. tried to recruit him, but ultimately Ahn picked Russia because they paid well and he was virtually assured a spot in the Olympics considering the dearth of world-class Russian skaters.

He had to renounce his Korean citizenship to become a naturalized Russian citizen. He changed his name, giving this fantastic explanation for why he picked Viktor:

“First of all, the name Viktor is associated with the word ‘victory’. It’s symbolic, as I want this name to bring me luck. Secondly, I know of another Korean named Viktor, who is very popular in Russia and is well-known in Korea — Viktor Tsoy. I want to be as famous in Russia as he was. And third, I was told that Viktor is a name, which is easy to remember for Russian-speakers.”

Now that he has returned to his 2006 form, the Koreans are wondering how they let him go.

President Park Geun-hye has ordered an investigation into why Ahn was kicked to the curb by the skating federation in 2011.

viktor-ahn-russia-gold

Check out this link:

Why a Korean speed skating star changed his name and started racing for Russia

Link

Meet Yuzuru Hanyu, your first figure skating Olympic star

 

Image AP

 

There are spoilers here. Please don’t continue if you don’t want to find out the results…

The team skating event of The 2014 Winter Olympics kicked off with the men’s short program on Thursday. It’s a new event this year in which men’s, women’s, pairs, and ice-dancing teams from 10 countries compete together in a Davis Cup-like team competition.  The men took the ice on Thursday, a lineup which included three-time world champion Patrick Chan and skating legend Evgeni Plushenko. Those two have commanded headlines of late with some saucy verbal fighting.

But it was Japan‘s Yuzuru Hanyu (and Team Japan) who stole the show with a dazzling quadruple toe loop. Hanyu made this really, really difficult jump look ridiculously easy:

He followed that up with a breezy triple axel:

The ease and beauty of Hanyu’s performance were highlights on a night when U.S. hopeful Jeremy Abbott bobbled on his triple axel and Patrick Chan doubled one of his combination jumps. The Japanese team, which includes 2010 silver medalist Mao Asada, were happy for their teammate (which is one of the nice things about the team competition):

Hanyu’s strong performance put Japan in first, followed by Plushenko’s Russian team, and Chan’s Canadian team. The U.S. was in seventh following Abbott’s popped axel.

 

The pairs component is currently underway and will be followed by ice-dancing and the women’s competition. Because Japan’s pairs team isn’t considered as strong, Russia and Canada are hoping to make up some ground and cut into Hanyu and Japan’s lead.

 

Check out this link:

Meet Yuzuru Hanyu, your first figure skating Olympic star