By Jason Cruz
Northwest Asian Weekly
Adrian tops US API Olympic winners
The Rio Olympic Games were memorable for several Asian Pacific Islanders. Notably, Nathan Adrian earned two golds and two bronze medals in the pool. The Bremerton native scored two golds in relay events (4×100 medley relay and 4×100 freestyle relay) as the anchor leg, which also included Michael Phelps. He also won a bronze in the 50-meter freestyle and 100-meter freestyle.
Adrian’s mother is from Hong Kong, but grew up in Bremerton before attending the University of California at Berkeley. Adrian received a hero’s welcome in Bremerton last month when he returned in celebration of his Olympic accomplishments. He was driven through town in a convertible to Bremerton High School, where he met fans.
Unlike Michael Phelps, Adrian plans to continue competing and will vie for a spot at the next Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.
Also in the pool, Lia Neal earned a silver as part of the 4×100 freestyle relay. Neal, who is African American and Chinese American, is a swimmer at Stanford University.
Michael Phelps had a great Olympics in the last one of his career, as he won five gold medals and one silver. Notably, the sole silver he won was in the 100-meter butterfly, where he was edged out by Singapore’s Joseph Schooling. Although he competed for Singapore, Schooling attends the University of Texas at Austin and is a member of the Longhorns swim team.
Fencers Gerek Meinhardt and Alexander Massialas won bronze medals in men’s team foil. The 26-year-old Meinhardt is a consultant at Deloitte. A Taiwanese American, Meinhardt was introduced to the sport by his mother from the recommendation of Alexander Massialas’ mother.
Massialas, also Taiwanese American, was a favorite to earn a medal this year after being the youngest member of the 2012 team. Massialas made out with a bronze, although he likely would have wanted an individual medal as well.
The U.S. Volleyball team earned a bronze medal in Rio and Micah Christenson, Kawika Shoji, and Erik Shoji were on the team. The men’s team suffered a devastating 5-set loss to Italy that propelled the Italians to the gold medal game. Team USA had to recover from the setback and play in the bronze medal game. Fortunately, Team USA bounced back to defeat Russia for the bronze medal. It was the first Olympic medal for the trio of volleyball players.
Corner for UFC fighter lobs racial taunts and opponent
Overt racism is something that should not be tolerated in sports. However, a recent UFC card picked up on some racist comments made by the corner for Michael Perry when he faced Hyun Gyu Lim this past July. The day before the fight at a promotional event where the fighters face each other, Perry faked a handshake with Lim and withdrew it once Lim extended his own hand. Instead, Perry put up his fists as if to taunt Lim. This is immature, but tolerated in MMA, despite the fact that most fighters respect one another.
On the night of the fight, camera audio picked up someone in his corner yelling to Perry, “He’s got nothing for you, Mike. He can’t even open his motherf****** eyes, boy.” Lim is Korean. Clearly, the “open his eyes” statement was directed at Lim. The person who made the statement, Alex Nicholson, is also an MMA fighter. He admitted on Twitter to making the comments and apologized. Perry defended the racial taunts stating, “I don’t believe there was any harm intended.” The UFC stated it would look into the situation. Thus far, no punishment has been handed out to Nicholson, Perry, or anyone from his team. In fact, Perry, who won the fight against Lim, was rewarded with another fight coming up in October.
Lim, thus far, has not issued a statement about the racist taunt.
To utter racist comments and then apologize citing the “heat of the moment” is a flawed excuse. It’s clear that the racism with these individuals seeps into their mind and is the first thing that comes when denouncing an opponent. Their mindset must be, “this Oriental (yes, I’m projecting their bigotry) has slanted eyes, I’m going to make fun of him.” While we cannot cure racism, we can curb it. The UFC should have done something immediately. Instead, they are sitting on their hands.
Perhaps, the UFC should open its eyes about racism.
Jason can be reached at email@example.com.