Russia Wins The First Team Figure Skating Gold Medal, U.S. In Third

Story by Olivia Ouyang.

The first ever team figure skating event concluded yesterday with the men’s and ladies’ long program and free dance. Veteran Yevgeny Plushenko sealed Russia’s fate as the gold medalist after winning the men’s free skate. However, there were plenty of other highlights over the course of the three-day event that began on Thursday, the day before the opening ceremonies.

Unique to this competition is that skaters who would not normally be in the spotlight are able to compete alongside the world’s best. For example, Japan has some of the strongest singles skaters in the world. However, they have much weaker pairs and ice dancing teams. Because of the team structure of this competition, these Japanese skaters shared the ice with the best in the field. In addition, the five countries that qualified for the finals were allowed up to two substitutions for the long programs and free dance. Most countries took advantage of this rule and let some less experienced skaters compete.

While this was a nice way to kick off the Olympics, the real action starts on Tuesday when the individual events get underway.  However, the team event gave audiences a nice preview of who to watch.

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Men’s: Yuzuru Hanyu (Japan) won the men’s short program, edging out Plushenko by a little over six points. Patrick Chan of Canada also proved he is a medal contender by placing third in the short. Although Plushenko won the long program, Kevin Reynolds of Canada and Tatsuki Machida were right on his heels.

Ladies’: Yulia Lipnitskaya, the 15-year-old from Russia, proved that she is the girl to beat, dominating both the short and long programs. Veteran Carolina Kostner pulled together one of her best programs ever and placed second in the short. If she skates like that in the individual competition, she is definitely a medal contender. Mao Asada, one of the few women with a triple axel, fell on the element in the short program but still managed to cling to third. Ashley Wagner partially redeemed herself after a devastating performance at U.S. Nationals that sparked quite the controversy when she was selected for the Olympic team over bronze medalist Mirai Nagasu (for more on this story, click here). Lastly but certainly not least, Gracie Gold, the current U.S. National champion, came the closest to challenging Lipnitskaya, placing second in the free skate.

Pairs: As it has been for the past decade, the top three pair teams in the world are still the Russians, Canadians, and Chinese. All three countries have such a deep team that it will be interesting to see who ends up on top.

Ice Dancing: Meryl Davis and Charlie White demonstrated why they are the favorites to win the Olympics, scoring a season’s best during the free dance and winning both portions of the competition. Their closest rivals (both literally and figuratively) are Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir who represent Canada but happen to be their training mates. Marina Zoueva coaches both teams.

 

Korean American Designer’s Unlikely Hit at Fashion Week

Story by Y. Peter Kang.

Korean American designer Richard Chai sent a revamped version of every homebody’s favorite garment, the bathrobe, down the runway at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York, triggering an unexpected buzz.

The New Jersey native unveiled the Fall 2014 collection for his Richard Chai Love clothing line on Thursday. A writer on the fashion blog Pattern called the plaid bathrobe an “impressive surprise.”

“I couldn’t believe my eyes. I checked my Twitter feed. Yes, others had seen it, too. Then, the pictorialevidence started pouring in. In fact, no one was tweeting any of the other looks for a while,” wrote fashion photographer Charles I. Letbetter. “The audience was stunned with amazement. Richard Chai sent a bathrobe down the runway. And it was an immediate hit.”

Described as having a hipster or grunge aesthetic, Chai graduated from Parsons the New School for Design in New York and also studied at the Lissa School in Paris, according to the Wall Street Journal. He previously worked as a designer at Marc Jacobs before starting his own line.

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Chai also showed a green version of his bathrobe.

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Richard Chai takes a bow.

This story was originally published on iamkoream.com.

Ringing in the Lunar New Year at the Americana at Brand

Photos by ZACK HERRERA.
This story was originally published by iamkoream.com

Hundreds gathered Saturday at the Americana at Brand, a popular shopping and restaurant destination in Glendale, Calif., to ring in the Year of the Blue Horse, with traditional Korean fan dancing, a parade led by Chinese “dragons” and performances by Asian American YouTube singers Clara C and Jason Chen.

The mood was vibrant and energetic—just like the supposed spirit of the Blue Horse—as families flooded the center green to watch the entertainment and visit craft tables, where children made their own paper horse figurines.

Visitors could take a ride on a paper lantern-adorned trolley, and by nighttime, enjoy a water show at the venue’s famous fountain, choreographed to the classic Chinese song “Give Me a Kiss” by Wan Fang. The fountain show, at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., continues through February 16.

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Chinese dragon performers lead the Lunar New Year parade.

 

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Kites decorate the Americana at Brand’s fountain.

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Members of the Asian Arts Talents Foundation perform the Chinese lion dance.

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Performers take a ride on the trolley.

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This girl enjoys the view of the Lunar New Year celebration from her dad’s shoulders.

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Children work on making paper horse figurines.

 

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Korean Actress Cast in Upcoming ‘Avengers 2′, Sources Say

Story by Young Rae Kim.

Korean actress Kim Soo Hyun was reportedly cast in the upcoming blockbuster sequel Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, according to Twitch Film.

Kim, 28, not to be confused with the popular male actor with the same name, is not well known outside of Korea and previously went by the stage name Yoo Ri-el. Still, it was reported that she beat out dozens of other actresses — including some top-tier names — to snag a supporting role as a doctor who helps Iron Man. Her English proficiency and familiarity with the action genre reportedly helped her cause.

Marvel has stated that at least 10 to 15 minutes of the film will be set in the swanky Gangnam district of Seoul. Marvel has already hired one of Korea’s top production teams and domestic shooting is scheduled to begin in the spring in Seoul and Incheon.

Kim who has appeared in Seventh Grade Civil Servant and The Fugitive: Plan B, grew up abroad and speaks fluent English, according to the Korea Times. She began her career as a model and signed to the same agency as Daniel Henney.

According to her management agency, Kim is still waiting for Marvel to confirm the casting.

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This story was originally published in iamkoream.com

Get To Know Janel Parrish: The Pretty Little Liar You Love To Hate

FULL NAME Janel Meilani Parrish
HERITAGE Chinese and Irish/German
AGE 24
CLAIM TO FAME The girl you love to hate is back on the fourth season of ABC Family’s hit show, Pretty Little Liars. “Mona is not a very nice person,” says Parrish of her character. “She always has a hidden agenda. I don’t think I’m like her at all, thank God!” But clearly, Parrish is doing a great job portraying what she calls “a complex character with lots of layers” — she won Choice TV Villain at the most recent Teen Choice Awards. Next up, Parrish stars opposite Jackson Rathbone (Twilight series) in the indie film The Concerto.

Go-to karaoke song: “Mercy” by Duffy.
Last time I cried: Yesterday during a movie.
Always makes me laugh: Game nights with friends.
Go-to comfort food: Thai.
Last thing I ate: Cheese and salami.
Currently on “repeat” on my iPod: “In Case” by Demi Lovato.
A guilty pleasure I don’t feel guilty about: Sex and the City reruns.
Current favorite place: Paradise Cove Beach Cafe in Malibu.
Favorite drink: Red wine!
Pet peeve: People telling me I’m being overdramatic.
Habit I need to break: Fidgeting.
Talent I’d like to have: Making my own clothes.
Word I overuse: “Literally.”
Most treasured possession: iPhone.
Greatest fear: Being alone.
Favorite childhood memory: Playing hide-and-go-seek with my cousins at my grandma’s house in Hawaii.
Motto: Timing is everything.
What’s cool about being Asian: I’m always on time ;]
My job in another life: Probably hair and makeup!

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photo Jack Blizzard
styling Reichelle Palo
hair & makeup Berenice Gallego

This story was originally published in our Winter 2013-14 issue. Get your copy here

Top Asian Comfort Foods

When we think comfort food, most of us revert back to the dishes our moms made us. Here, we salivate over home cooking-from-another-mother. 

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PORK ADOBO BY CHEF CHARLEEN CAABAY, KAINBIGAN 
by Kristine Ortiz.

In the Asian food scene, Filipino food is like that last person picked for the dodge ball team: under-recognized and little appreciated. Despite Filipinos being the second largest Asian ethnicity group in the United States today, the culinary landscape has yet to reflect its ever-growing population. Even in the Bay Area, an area home to some of the highest concentrations of Filipinos outside of the Philippines, there are only pockets of Filipino food wastelands.

This is where chef Charleen Caabay of Oakland’s Kainbigan comes in. She started out cooking pinoy food for friends, and after seeing the lack of Filipino culinary offerings in the region, she opened her restaurant this past August. “As diverse as Oakland is,” says Caabay, “they don’t have enough Filipino food.”

With a name that means “Let’s eat, my friends” (in Tagalog, pagkain means food, kaibigan means friend) and a straightforward, stick-to-your-ribs menu, Kainbigan is not one of those places with too-fancy offerings and sky-high prices. Rather, the restaurant specializes in home-cooked, straight-from-the-heart Filipino food, which is characterized by its salty, sour and sweet flavors and Chinese and Spanish influence, remnants of the country’s trade and colonial histories. Take the adobo, arguably the national dish of the Philippines. Meat is marinated and cooked in a blend of soy sauce and vinegar alongside black pepper, bay leaves and garlic. While the chicken adobo (the most common and recognizable version) is absolutely delicious, Caabay is most proud of her Pork Adobo. It may seem like a simple marinade, but “the way it’s cooked and how long you braise it for — when it’s cooked for just long enough, the taste is amazing,” says Caabay. Served in a wooden bowl atop a heaping cloud of white rice, meant to soak up the expertly balanced sauce, the adobo is comfort food 101, filling you up in the most delicious way possible through a flavor profile that is as complex as it is appetizing.

Another standout item at Kainbigan is Caabay’s own unique creation, Crispy Chicken Adobo over Garlic Noodles, an interesting take on pancit, another Filipino food staple. Instead of the typical rice noodle, Caabay opts for an egg noodle, the chef’s personal favorite, which is combined with the flavorful house garlic sauce and topped with bits of crispy adobo. “I think that’s one of my best dishes because I created it here, and it has a little bit of everything,” she says with a smile. It may not be your typically dry pancit, but the flavor profile of the Garlic Noodles is purely pinoy.

Caabay’s passion for traditional Filipino culture is something she wants to share through the meals she serves. “If you were at home, this would be how mom or lola [grandma] would make it,” she says. And her challenge to potential diners? “Come with an open mind and a big appetite, and I can guarantee that you’ll leave here feeling good.”

 

 

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PHO BY CHEF KIMMY TANG, 9021PHO
by Anna M. Park.

When it comes to comfort food, chef Kimmy Tang knows a thing or two — as owner and chef of 9021Pho in Beverly Hills, Calif., her whole career revolves around hers, the Vietnamese noodle soup known as pho. “Pho is like your breakfast,” she says, “very nutri- tious and energetic. It sets your energy for the rest of the day.” In addition to traditional beef pho and chicken pho, Tang offers a spicy pho that is reminiscent of the southern style of pho she loved in her native Saigon. “Northern Vietnamese cuisine is often less spicy and is not bold in any particular taste,” she explains. “Southern Vietnamese cuisine is often vibrant, flavorful and sweeter than other regions.” Either way, what makes pho is the broth, and for Tang, “the broth is a labor of love. It’s cooked slow for a long period of time, about eight hours.” She also carefully selects lean, high quality meats and offers reduced fat and low-carb versions to cater to the local clientele.

Surrounded by pho day in and day out, does Tang ever tire of pho? Apparently not. “I get my [serving of] daily vitamins with small portions of pho throughout the day,” says Tang. “The concentrated broth is full of vitamins and nutrients and gives me a nice dose of energy, the healthy way.”

 

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CAMBODIAN SOUPS
by Kanara Ty.

When people want comfort food, some may reach for a calming chicken soup or greasy fried chicken. I turn to Cambodian food. I crave things that pack a lot of flavor, and Cambodian cuisine incorporates a lot of spices (often made into a spice blend known as kroeung). And with cold weather around the corner, I know I’ll want a particular kind of Cambodian comfort food: the hearty soups.

During the winter in any Cambodian American household, hearty soups are always on rotation for any meal of the day, with plenty to go around for everyone (including our neighbors, who also make more than enough food). Noodle soups (like kuyteav) and rice porridge (babor) make for popular breakfast dishes, while sour soup dishes
like somlaw machu kroeung, which incorporates ingredients like kroeung paste, turmeric, morning glory, coriander, stewed beef ribs and tripe, make for a great main dinner course. Another popular dish is somlaw machu youen, which incorporates fish, shrimp, pineapple, tomatoes and the celery-like bac hà in a tamarind-flavored broth.

For me, the one soup that represents the epitome of Cambodian comfort food is the national dish somlaw koko (Cambodian ratatouille). It’s perfect for anyone who likes to savor the discovery of various ingredients in a complex dish. With your first sip, you’ll be overwhelmed by the layers of contrasting flavors and textures of lemongrass-based kroeung paste, prahok (fermented fish paste), palm sugar, ground toasted rice, assorted veggies (including kabocha and Thai eggplants), and meat (most Cambodians prefer pork spareribs cut into bite-sized pieces). I also eat the soup with a side dish of fish sauce (chopped with Thai chilies) and serve it over rice — the perfect way to enjoy the ultimate Cambodian comfort food.

Dying to try somlaw koko? Check out elephantwalk.com for recipes, or Sophy’s in Long Beach, Calif. (sophysthailongbeach.com).


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SOUP DUMPLINGS, DIN TAI FUNG
by Anna M. Park.

Mention soup dumplings as gourmet fare, and one immediately thinks of Din Tai Fung. The Michelin-star Taiwanese restaurant that sparked a million lines around the world (there are more than 80 locations globally) has just opened its fourth U.S. branch at The Americana at Brand in Glendale, Calif. Go for their Juicy Pork Dumplings, which burst with flavorful soup in your mouth. Just make sure to do it the proper way: make your dipping sauce 80-20 vinegar to soy sauce, cool the dumpling in the sauce, and then eat whole (do not bite and do not slurp soup out!). unless, of course, you’re having their coveted Truffle Dumplings, normally reserved for dignitaries and exclusive to The Americana branch — that you eat straight out of the bamboo steamer.

 


This story was originally published in our Winter 2013-14 issue. Get your copy here

 

Yoko Ono Writes Letter to Japanese Fishermen for Killing Dolphins

Story by Taylor Weik.

Yoko Ono, Japanese artist, peace activist and widow of Beatle John Lennon, wrote a letter to the Japanese fishermen of Taiji, who on Tuesday continued their controversial annual capture-and-kill of bottlenose dolphins.

Taiji, a rural whaling town in Japan, has been the focus of controversy recently for their infamous annual dolphin drive hunt, which takes place every year from September to April. Drive hunting involves corralling dolphins into coves, where they can be cornered and trapped, or killed. The practice has been highlighted in the 2009 Oscar-nominated documentary “The Cove,” which depicts graphic scenes of slowly dying dolphins and blood-stained ships and waters.

250 dolphins were driven into Taiji’s “killing cove” on Thursday, where they spent four days in a selection process. 52 dolphins were sold to marine parks and aquariums, while 40 more were slaughtered and sold to butchers. It is unclear what the fishermen plan to do with the rest of the corralled dolphins.

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Ono voiced her opposition in a letter addressed to the Taiji fishermen on her website she shared with Lennon, Imagine Peace. In the letter, she pleads for the fishermen to think of the reputation of their country, and how killing dolphins will only portray Japan as a country of violence.

“I am sure that it is not easy, but please consider the safety of the future of Japan, surrounded by many powerful countries which are always looking for the chance to weaken the power of our country,” Ono writes. “The future of Japan and its safety depends on many situations, but what you do with Dolphins now can create a very bad relationship with the whole world.”

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga defended the practice during a news conference in Tokyo, stating that dolphin fishing “is a form of traditional fishing in our country.”

Must-Read: ‘THE LOWLAND’ BY JHUMPA LAHIRI

Story by Taylor Weik. 

It’s in the very first chapter that the title is mentioned. Near a country club built for the wealthy British in the locality of Tollygunge, India, there dwell two ponds side by side, separated by a lowland. Sometimes, when monsoons strike, the ponds rise in level so that they appear as one body.

In just a few short paragraphs, Jhumpa Lahiri uses her sharp observations of the plains of India to lay out her plot and describe the relationship between two of her characters, even before she’s introduced them.

In her long-awaited second novel, Lahiri — winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Interpreter of Maladies, a collection of short stories — decides to take a more political route without straying from her signature lyrical style. Like her other works, The Lowland is a family saga that starts with the perspective of one and then jumps from family member to family member as they live out their lives.

The story focuses on two brothers, Subhash and Udayan Mitra, who grow up in 1960s Calcutta during the Communist Movement that has found its way to West Bengal. Though the brothers are exceptionally close and are often seen by their own parents as one person, the impulsive Udayan gets swept up in the Naxalite cause, a militant Maoist group, while the more reserved Subhash buries himself in his studies and leaves India for the quiet countryside of Rhode Island. However, it is Subhash who must later return to India to pick up the fragments of devastation that Udayan has left in his wake, actions that have altered his family in inexplicable ways.

The eight-part, 340-page novel is not as light as Lahiri’s other works. Not only does it dive straight into the complexities of each character — of how Subhash, Udayan’s wife Gauri and their mother each react to Udayan’s death, all while documenting the life of Udayan and Gauri’s daughter from the moment of her birth — but it also attempts to squeeze in decades worth of historical information regarding the Maoist movement in India. It’s a lot to take in when reading, especially when the point of view can change in an instant from Subhash’s ignorance of the violence in India to Gauri’s ultimate knowledge as Udayan’s confidant.

Though Lahiri sets the book in a little-known time in history, she still manages to make her characters relatable. Gauri, who is arguably the most controversial character in the book, fails to be a strong, inspirational widow after her husband’s death and thus illustrates that not everyone comes out of a tragedy in good health.

“That’s the enormous power of literature, that you can write out of such a specific place, and yet it’s really about entering into other peoples’ consciousness,” Lahiri explained in an interview with The New Yorker. “We’re less divided than we think we are. In the end, the stories become universal.”

Though the first half is packed with political commentary, the second half of The Lowland is where Lahiri’s incredible attention to the details of her characters’ lives comes in, and it’s where the reader can fully immerse herself in the fluid storytelling Lahiri is known for. The novel is a departure from Lahiri’s other works, to be sure, but it’s still one that continues to explore not just Indian American life but the human experience itself. Details Hardcover, $27.95, randomhouse.com.

 

This story was originally published in out Winter 2013-14 issue. Get your copy here

Golden Globes 2014: Where are all the Asian People?

Story by Taylor Weik. 

As 5 p.m. drew closer and closer this past Sunday, my Tumblr dashboard began filling up with red. High-resolution photos of glamorous celebrities posing in their designer gowns and tuxedos on the red carpet were already making their way to the Internet, and the Golden Globes hadn’t even started.

 

I eagerly browsed the #gg14 tag on Tumblr while simultaneously searching online for a link to stream the red carpet event and the awards show itself. As someone who has spent more money on movie tickets than she’d care to admit and had at one point considered declaring film and media studies as a major, awards season is for me what the Superbowl is for my tailgate party-attending football fanatic friends. For a few hours on those special Sunday nights –– though I may be watching from a dimly lit computer screen and in pajama pants –– I couldn’t be happier.

 

I indulged in red carpet hour as always and watched as the ever-so-chic Giuliana Rancic and Ryan Seacrest made their interview rounds. Bradley Cooper. Jennifer Lawrence. Julia Roberts. Bryan Cranston. They came by limo, paused for questions and were swept away for photos. So many familiar faces from my favorite TV shows and movies flashed on the screen, but there were plenty more faces I didn’t see.

 

I could count the number of Asian people I saw on one hand. Little Aubrey Anderson-Emmons from Modern Family pranced around and comedian-actor Aziz Ansari attended (he also was one of three actors who announced the Golden Globe nominees back in December), but otherwise the turnout was discouraging. Phil Yu, founder of the popular Angry Asian Man blog, tweeted “Playing “Asian Spotting” while watching the Golden Globes is like the most boring game ever.”

The lack of Asian American actors, directors and crew members in the entertainment industry is nothing new to us. Browse the list of big movies set to release in 2014 and you won’t see any Asian American actors credited until almost half of the year is over, in May, when Ken Watanabe’s name appears in the new Godzilla reboot.

 

But at least last year at the Golden Globes, we had some representation in the form of successful actors like Lucy Liu, who wowed viewers in her long side braid and iconic floral Carolina Herrera gown on the red carpet. At least last year, Life of Pi was nominated for multiple awards, including Ang Lee for Best Director of a Motion Picture.

 

No one of Asian descent was nominated in the Golden Globes this year –– again, not a big surprise –– but the fact that I didn’t see many Asian people in the red carpet coverage says a lot about who is represented in Hollywood and who is continued to be left out of it.

 

Granted, some Asian Americans were represented in the form of dazzling dresses and six-inch heels. Kerry Washington flaunted her baby bump in a creamy Balenciaga number designed by Alexander Wang, and Jimmy Choo was a popular choice for pumps (Sandra Bullock) and clutches (Taylor Swift). But future awards shows better start recognizing the Rinko Kikuchis and Ken Watanabes out there –– I’m not sure how much longer I can stand having Hollywood equate “Asian American” with only designer bags and shoes.

 

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The Reason You Haven’t Heard: Why Mirai Nagasu Deserves to be on Team USA

Nagasu decision not in line with those made for mens, pairs teams

Story by Olivia Ouyang.

You have probably heard by now that Mirai Nagasu, the bronze medalist at the Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships this past weekend, was left off of the 2014 U.S. Olympic and World figure skating teams. After all, the monumental decision has been all over the news and radio, covered by media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and CNN. While strangers to the sport might sympathize with Nagasu, they might wonder why the decision is receiving so much press coverage. After all, it’s in the “rulebook.” However, to an insider of figure skating, the decision to leave Nagasu off of the Olympic and World teams sets a dangerous precedent. Through their actions, the USFS committee has made it clear that they can and will operate in a subjective rather than objective manner that jeopardizes the precious virtue of fairness that is supposed to be inherent in athletic competition.

First off, let me explain the reasons why people are angry. Traditionally, the U.S. Figure Skating Championships has been the sole determinant of the Olympic and World teams. In the history of U.S. Figure Skating, the committee has only sent a skater who did not place at nationals to the Olympics and Worlds three times—Todd Eldredge in 1992, Nancy Kerrigan in 1994, and Michelle Kwan in 2006. Why did these three skaters not place at nationals? Because they were not there. All three were injured and missed nationals, filing appeals that were ultimately granted. This year is the first time that a skater has performed poorly at the U.S. Championships and still made it on to the team. Moreover, the generous scores from the judges did not really reflect how poorly Wagner skated. It was clear that the judges were hoping that Wagner, who skated before Nagasu, could still make it onto the podium.

Other fans feel that Polina Edmunds, the fifteen-year-old silver medalist, should have been bumped off the team rather than Nagasu. After all, Edmunds has never competed internationally at the senior level. Given Edmunds’ “body of work,” it is clear that Nagasu, who placed fourth at the previous Olympics, won the bronze medal at the 2013 Rostelecom Cup, and is a three-time national medalist, including a gold medal in 2008, has a much more impressive “body of work.”  Some have gone as far to say that the decision to leave Nagasu off the team was a racial one (she is Japanese, while Edmunds is Russian and Wagner is German). Personally, I think the racial allegations are unfounded.

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However, what got me really mad and what no one else seems to be talking about, is the World and Olympic assignments for the men’s and pairs’ teams. In both situations, the silver medalists were surprises: Jason Brown in the men’s competition and Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay in the pairs’ competition. Despite the relative inexperience of these three skaters, the USFS committee decided to send them to the Olympics. However, these skaters were cut from the World team. Instead, Max Aaron, the 2013 national champion who finished with a bronze medal this year, will represent the U.S in the men’s competition. Likewise, Caydee Denney and John Coughlin, who won nationals last year but placed third this year, will go to Worlds instead of Zhang and Bartholomay. While I do not necessarily understand or agree with the logic of these decisions, I believe USFS should be consistent. Therefore, following this pattern, Nagasu should be allowed to compete at the Olympics and Wagner should compete at Worlds. The fact that USFS felt it acceptable to take Nagasu off of both the Olympic and World teams, dashing her hopes for a medal at either, is infuriating. Why is Nagasu not being treated with the same respect as Brown or Zhang and Bartholomay? That is a question I cannot answer. While there is a chance that Nagasu may still be able to compete at Worlds (oftentimes, if a skater medals at the Olympics, he/she will withdraw from Worlds), the fact remains that Nagasu received unfair treatment when compared to the decisions made regarding the men’s and pairs’ teams.

I want to make clear that this is not an attack on Ashley Wagner. Wagner is without a doubt one of the best current American figure skaters and, until nationals, she had a remarkable season. She garnered a silver and gold medal at Skate America and Trophee Eric Bompard respectively. She entered the competition this weekend as the reigning national champion and the recently crowned bronze medalist of the Grand Prix Final. I empathize with Wagner, who has been forced to sign off of social media due to the influx of hateful posts from supporters of Nagasu. Wagner is, after all, part of the reason why the U.S. can even send three skaters to Sochi (her fifth place finish at Worlds last year helped secure three spots for Team USA).

 

However, the fact remains that U.S. Figure Skating essentially slapped Nagasu in the face. Whether this is because she showed up without a coach or for other reasons, we will probably never know. It was clear to everyone who watched Nagasu’s free skate on Saturday that she had risen to the occasion. The dedicated athlete who had worked so hard to regain ground after two disappointing seasons, the young lady who gasped with joy when she found at she was back on the national podium, the beautiful skater who should be at least going to either Worlds or the Olympics, was reduced to tears on Sunday night during her exhibition program after U.S. Figure Skating, an organization to which she had dedicated her life, stole away her dreams.