It’s that time again. The Winter Olympic Games are upon us, this time in Vancouver, starting February 12, 2010. The U.S. has got a lot of talent as usual, and we’re going to highlight some of the Asian American athletes who may be competing at the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games.
First up is 16-year-old Mirai Nagasu, who is hoping to make it on the U.S. figure skating team. (The team will be announced in a couple weeks.)
The high school senior from Arcadia, Calif., has been skating since she was 5, and competing since 2003. She was the 2008 U.S. champion, the second youngest to ever win that title at age 14. Mirai even made the cover of the May 2009 issue of Sports Illustrated For Kids, a part of their “20 Under 20″ cover story.
There’s a lot of buzz surrounding Mirai, especially after what people are calling a surprising win in 2008. But since then, she’s had a growth spurt (she went from 4’11″ to 5’3″ this past year) and Mirai struggled on the rink in 2009. She placed 5th in the 2009 U.S. Championships, won the short program at the Cup of China Grand Prix competition, but finished 6th in the long, for an overall finish of 5th place. Most recently she placed 4th at Skate Canada.
Next up is the U.S. National Championships in Spokane, Wash., on January 14-24, 2010.
Mirai is nisei (second generation Japanese American) and she speaks Japanese, even doing some commentating for a Japanese TV station at the 2009 World Championships. She says her favorite skaters are the 2008 World Champion Japanese skater Mao Asada, the 2009 World Champion Korean skater Yu-Na Kim, and, of course, the most decorated figure skater in U.S. history (and 2-time Olympian) Chinese American skating icon Michelle Kwan.
Some fun facts about Mirai:
* Her dad, a Japanese immigrant, is a sushi chef.
* Mirai went to her prom in May, wearing a fuschia dress by Japanese designer Tadashi Shoji. (She loves fashion.)
* Her lucky charm is a necklace that she never takes off.
* She loves her white Chihuahua.
Good luck Mirai!
For more information on Mirai and other Olympic athletes, as well as a full schedule of events, go to NBCOlympic.com or TeamUSA.org.