Best Asian American athletes in 2014


Northwest Asian Weekly (By Jason Cruz)

It was another stellar year for API sports.

It started off with Doug Baldwin and the Seattle Seahawks bringing home the team’s first ever Super Bowl and a parade that seemingly the whole city of Seattle came to see.

The Winter Olympics were a bit of a disappointment for Asian Americans. Mirai Nagusa was denied making the U.S. women’s figure skating team despite making the top three.

J.R. Celski earned a Silver medal in the men’s Short Track 5000-meter relay but failed to medal in any of the three individual events he competed in.

Julie Chu, the first Asian American woman to play for the U.S. women’s ice hockey team ended her career with a Silver medal for the U.S. team. However, her quest for Gold was thwarted just three minutes before the end of the Gold Medal Game against Canada. With the U.S. up 2-0, Canada made a furious comeback and scored two goals in three minutes to send the game into overtime where Team Canada scored another goal for the Gold. Chu played in an unprecedented four Olympics and was the U.S. Olympic team’s Flag Bearer for the closing ceremonies.

In April, Manny Pacquiao returned to the ring and avenged a controversial loss to Tim Bradley by winning a convincing unanimous decision.

The World Cup was held in Brazil in June and the two Asian nations competing, South Korea and Japan, did not fare well. Both were eliminated in the first round of the tournament.

Also in June, Michelle Wie won her first major golf championship with a win at the U.S. Women’s Open. At the same tournament, 11-year-old Lucy Li became the youngest qualifier in the U.S. Women’s Open.

University of Washington men’s golf team member Cheng-Tsung Pan played in the British Open in July. The UW junior earned the spot by tying for second at a qualifying event in Thailand. This fall, Pan decided to turn pro.

The U.S. Tennis Open featured great runs by 24-year-old Japanese star Kei Nishikori and China’s Peng Shuai.

Nishikori, who was coached by Chinese American Michael Chang, made it all the way to the men’s final before losing to Milos Raonic.

Shuai made a surprising run to the semifinals where she had to retire (forfeit) due to continued leg cramps.

Absent from the women’s side of the tournament was Li Na who announced her retirement in September.

In October, Apolo Ohno finished the famed Ironman Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii.

November saw Manny Pacquiao’s return to the ring as he destroyed Chris Algieri. Pacquiao’s next opponent…Floyd Mayweather?

In December, the University of Oregon’s Marcus Mariota won the Heisman Trophy, college football’s biggest individual award.
Mariota becomes the first Asian Pacific Islander to win the trophy.

And without further ado, here are the top 10 API athletes of 2014:

10. Harley Kirsch

Kirsch, who is part Korean, was the quarterback for the Eastside Catholic High School team that defeated the vaunted Bellevue High School football team to win the Washington state class 3A football championship. Located in Sammamish, Washington, the school ended Bellevue’s 67 game winning streak. Kirsch is only a junior and will return next season to lead Eastside Catholic.

9. Amelia Andrilenas

The junior gymnast at Juanita High School qualified for the state meet and placed first, second, and fourth in all-around meets during the 2013-2014 season.

For the outsider, the most astonishing thing about the 4’11” gymnast is that she has only one hand. Andrilenas, who was adopted from China, took up gymnastics at an early age and has excelled since.

8. Jeremy Lin

Lin was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers this past offseason to complement Kobe Bryant. So far, Lin has not done much to help Kobe. He’s averaging just 10 points for the currently 9 win and 22 loss Lakers. He did score a season high 21 points in the Lakers’ first win. While he is far-removed from the days of New York and Linsanity, he still is a contributing member of the Lakers who hope to rebuild.

7. Tim Lincecum

It seems that every other year Lincecum and his San Francisco Giants seem to win a World Series. The Giants won baseball’s World Series this year making it three times in the past five years that the team has won the title. Lincecum, who is a Washington native and part Filipino, pitched his second-career no-hitter against the San Diego Padres in June. He also picked up his 100th career win this past September. Although Lincecum played sparingly in the World Series, he picks up his third ring.

6. Chloe Kim

At only 14, Kim was too young to compete in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics but the snowboarder did earn silver in the “superpipe” at this year’s Winter X Games. Look for the Korean American to make the next team in the 2018 Winter Olympics which are in her parents’ home country of South Korea.

5. Julie Chu

A pioneer in the field of women’s hockey as Chu was the first Asian American to be on the women’s team and the first to play in four Olympics. She also starred in a commercial with her mother shown during the Winter Olympics.

4. Mirai Nagusa

The 21-year-old Los Angeles native was denied a spot on the 2014 Winter Olympics women’s figure skating team despite winning the Bronze medal at the U.S. Championships. Usually, the top three are awarded spots on the Olympic team. However, the U.S. Figure Skating committee determined that Ashley Wagner, the fourth place finisher make the team based on Wagner’s stronger international record. Although it was reported that Nagusa would appeal the decision, she later decided not to pursue it.

3. Apolo Ohno

The Olympic medalist is keeping busy in retirement. Last year he ran the New York Marathon. This year, he has completed one of the most grueling events out there, the Kona Ironman Triathlon. Ohno finished in 9 hours, 52 minutes and 27 seconds. What will he do next?

2. Marcus Mariota

The Oregon Duck won the Heisman Trophy in December and leads his team into the first College Football Playoff. Mariota is certain to be a top pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

1. Doug Baldwin

It’s pretty easy to pick Baldwin as he was a key part of the Seahawks run to the Super Bowl last year and remains one of Russell Wilson’s most valuable receivers. Hopefully, we’ll see Baldwin (and the rest of the Seahawks) with another Super Bowl ring in 2015.

 

Michelle Wie on the cover of Golf Digest

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Michelle Wie is the first LPGA player to appear on the cover of Golf Digest since Lorena Ochoa in August 2008.
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Wie has two wins in 2014, including her first major title, the U.S. Women’s Open.
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Once considered a can’t-miss prospect, Wie is two years removed from finishing a career-low 64th on the LPGA money list. “I’m still trying to come to grips with the long road it took to get here,” she said.
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cover shoot: michelle wie
cover shoot: michelle wie
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“What I’ve learned from my turnaround can be summed up in a quote from Winston Churchill: ‘A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.'”
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Michelle Wie and Amy Yang lead U.S. Open entering Final Round

 

 

2014-6-21-michelle-wie-third-roundESPN:

 

In the midst of throwing away a four-shot lead, Michelle Wie never lost sight of the big picture at Pinehurst No. 2.

The U.S. Women’s Open rarely goes according to plan, and Saturday was no exception. Wie knows that from experience long ago, and she settled down with four important pars to wind up with a 54-hole share of the lead for the third time in her career.

Wie was a teenager the other two times. Now at 24, she was one round away from capturing her first major.

I’m just grateful for another opportunity,” Wie said after salvaging a 2-over 72 to tie Amy Yang. “Tomorrow I’m going to play as hard as I can and hope for the best.”

Yang, who earned a spot in the final group for the second time in three years, didn’t make a par until the eighth hole in a wild round so typical of this day. Only a sloppy bogey on the final hole cost her the outright lead, though she was more than happy with a 68.

They were at 2-under 208, the only players still under par.

A pivotal moment for Wie came on the 12th hole. She reached 6 under for the tournament with back-to-back birdies at the turn. She made her first double-bogey of the tournament with a tee shot she hooked into the pine trees on the 11th. Her next drive sailed well to the right and settled on a sandy path. Instead of punching under the trees and over the bunker to the green — anything long is a tough up-and-down — she pitched out to the fairway and made bogey.

“U.S. Opens are tough,” she said. “I feel like maybe on a different golf course, I would have taken that chance. You just don’t want to be too greedy out here. Even though you make bogey, sometimes you just don’t want to make a double out here. I felt like I made the right decision there.

 

 

Check out this link:

Michelle Wie and Amy Yang lead U.S. Open entering Final Round

 

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Michelle Wie breaks drought and wins LPGA tourney in home state of Hawaii

 

 

Korean-American Michelle Wie ended her long LPGA title drought by winning the Lotte Championship at Ko Olina Golf Club in her native Hawaii on Sunday. She carded six birdies and one bogey for a final-round 67 to end at 14-under 274.

She played it safe in the closing round to overcome a two-stroke deficit and finish two strokes ahead of Angela Stanford of the U.S.

Her performance demonstrated how the 24-year-old has switched things up since her days as a teen prodigy a decade ago when she surprised the world with her 300-yard drives.

Wie has struggled over the last few years with the accuracy of her drives but seemed more comfortable in Kapolei as she teed off with a 3-wood.

She got lower to the ground when putting and said she took inspiration in this respect from Korea‘s Shin Ji-yai and Japan‘s Ai Miyazato, two very strong putters who are both significantly shorter. By extending her back to an almost 90-degree angle Wie could approximate their eye level to the course, she said.

Although some critics earlier ridiculed such a game plan, it seemed to work as Wie has shaved two or three putts off her game since applying this technique.

Wie’s third career LPGA title earned her US$255,000 and sent her to the top of the money list with a total of $616,555. Her world ranking also jumped from 23rd to 13th. It was also Wie’s first win in 79 competitions since the CN Canadian Women’s Open in August 2010. Her first title on the Tour was the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in 2009.

Wie’s strong form should make this season’s Tour more interesting and pose a threat to the current triumvirate of power — Korea’s Park In-bee, Norway’s Suzann Pettersen and Stacy Lewis of the U.S.

Wie has posted four top-10 finishes in seven events this season and not finished outside the top 20.

Check out this link:

Michelle Wie breaks drought and wins LPGA tourney in home state of Hawaii

Michelle Wie attempts a putt during the Lotte Championship at Ko Olina Golf Club in Hawaii on Sunday. /Courtesy of Lotte Group

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Michelle Wie added to U.S. Solheim Cup team

Morgan Pressel played her way onto another Solheim Cup team. Michelle Wie is returning as a captain’s pick.

Michelle to me was a no-brainer,” Mallon said of the 23-year-old from Hawaii. “With her experience, she can handle the big stage. She’s played well in Solheim Cups, and I just really believe in Michelle Wie.

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Michelle Wie added to U.S. Solheim Cup team

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