Asian American heavyweights Nathan Chen, Eileen Gu, and Chloe Kim are pulling in gold medals with their breathtaking performances.
Chen’s achievement on Thursday made him the first to join an exclusive club of American men to win gold at the Winter Olympics since Evan Lysacek in 2010.
The 21-year old snowboarder, Chloe Kim, became the first woman in Olympic history to win more than one gold medal in halfpipe snowboarding, a record that had eluded numerous of the sport’s best riders over the past two decades.
Eileen Gu, a California native, also achieved a gold medal but caused controversy as she represented China rather than the United States. Gu responds to the question by describing her background as a Chinese American. “I definitely feel as though I’m just as American as I am Chinese,” Gu says.
She adds “I’m American when I’m in the U.S. and Chinese when I’m in China, and I’ve been outspoken about my gratitude to both the U.S. and China for making me the person that I am.”
These athletes’ achievements have sparked a wave of Asian American pride, with renowned Korean American author Min Jin Lee tweeting, “So much Asian American excellence at the Olympics. You do us proud. Your strength, sacrifices, creativity, vision, and passion. We see you.”
Since Chen and Kim last competed in the Winter Olympics, Asian Americans have seen an increase in hate crimes as the world has been struck by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The non-profit organization, Stop AAPI Hate revealed that between March 19, 2020, and June 31, 2021, there were over 9,000 anti-Asian hate incident complaints.
Chen and Kim’s victories aren’t a remedy for Asian American animosity, but the overflowing of love and support for their achievements during the Lunar New Year has been a bright spot of the Winter Olympics.