When it comes to being a fashionista, we all know that maintaining style and fabulousness involves money. We all seek unique pieces, and most of the time we convince ourselves that it’s well worth the money. One would say, “$200 rainboots? Yeah, it’ll rain for sure. I need this.” With the economy the way it is these days, we are all rationalizing our budgets and pinching our pennies. What if there was an alternative to all of this? What if you could buy yourself a high quality, one-of-a-kind piece of clothing piece that’s affordable? You must think I’m bluffing! But look no further, I just found the site. An up and coming business called Sketch Street, this online store is where you can submit fashion sketches and have them come to real life! Based in London and recognized worldwide, Sketch Street is a new kind of style that us fashionista’s would love. With the wonderful opportunity of chatting with the founders of Sketch Street, check out this profile feature on the company and the owners, Widelia Liu and Anthony Chan!
While many countries have star athletes, few have star teams. China is a champion-making machine, turning young children into Olympic athletes through extreme training and discipline. Japan, a country still recovering from the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disasters that devastated the country a little over a year ago, has also turned out a couple of noteworthy teams as well.
China’s diving team
The Chinese diving team earned the title of “dream team” by winning five gold medals in Sydney and six gold medals in Athens. At Beijing, China hoped for a clean sweep in the diving events and the team almost succeeded. Australia’s Matthew Mitcham snatched the gold medal in the men’s 10 m platform though, and China had to settle for seven golds. While most nations would be ecstatic, “almost” is not good enough for the Chinese. This time around, the Chinese “dream team” is determined to accomplish their goal. At this year’s world championships, they successfully won all eight events. Qiu Bo, currently ranked No. 1 in the world, will be competing in the elusive men’s 10 m platform along with teammate Lin Yue. Currently, all the world No. 1 divers are Chinese. China has won 33 out of the 48 Olympic diving titles offered in the past 28 years. This may just be the year that China will add eight more to that medal count.
China’s men’s gymnastics team
While China’s women’s gymnastics team has a chance for Team gold, they are not the overwhelming favorites. In contrast, the men’s team won Team gold in Beijing by a large margin, scoring the highest on all events except floor. They also won Team gold at the last world championships. China’s gymnastics team is extremely deep and all of the men competing were part of the winning world championship team. However, China does not have room to falter because another team from Asia is right on their heels…
Japan’s men’s gymnastics team
Japan’s men’s gymnastics team settled for the silver medal in Beijing, after winning Team gold in Athens. Japan is back with vengeance and their team may be able to oust China from the top of the podium. The team is lead by Kohei Uchimura, the three-time all-around world champion who will compete on all the apparatuses for the team. Gymnastic siblings Kazuhito and Yusuke Tanaka (sister Rie Tanaka competes on the women’s team) are also part of the men’s team.
Japan’s women’s soccer team
Controversy broke out last week when the women’s soccer team was seated in coach class while the men’s soccer team flew in business class. If seating had been decided by skill rather than sex, the women should have flown in first class. The winners of last year’s World Cup and ranked No. 3 in the world, Japan’s women’s soccer team may be able to upset the United States’ team again. Their star player is Homare Sawa who was voted world player of the year. However, Sawa is not a one-woman show. She has a disciplined team to back her up that includes Aya Miyama, Ayumi Kaihori, and Nahomi Kawasumi.
And more Chinese teams…
Alas, the Chinese method of training, while rigorous and demanding, has been proven to produce champions. In China, athletics is a profession and not a recreation. Children are recruited at the age of ten to begin training for a sport. For many people, especially those from rural areas, becoming an athlete is their best hope for leading a quality life. In addition to diving and gymnastics, expect China to dominate in table tennis, badminton, weightlifting, and shooting. These six sports alone garnered China 38 gold medals in Beijing during the last Olympics.
India’s Olympic hopes largely rest on the shoulders of several extremely talented women. These women are not only experts in their field, but they are also trailblazers for women’s athletics in India.
At 30 years old, Krishna Poonia is looking to capture an Olympic gold medal in the discus throw. She broke out onto the international seen in 2006 and entered the Beijing Olympics as a medal contender but failed to make the finals. The mother of a ten-year-old son, Poonia is looking forward to settling down and spending time with her son after these Olympics. However, Poonia admits that her son is one of her most avid fans. Poonia made history by becoming India’s first female athlete to win the discus throw at a major international tournament history when she won gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
With the London Olympics a little over a week away, athletes and fans are gearing up for the most prestigious sporting event in the world. This time around, a number of Asian Americans will be representing the United States in various events.
This Olympics, the U.S. has two Asian American swimmers hitting the pool. Natalie Coughlin (she’s a quarter Filipina) and Nathan Adrian (he’s half Chinese) will be competing in London.
With the Olympics a little over a week away, many athletes are about to embark on the experience of a lifetime. However, for three filmmakers who have been following American table tennis players for the past year, this may be the end of the road unless they can receive enough funding for post-production. You can help with a pledge as small as $1.
Top Spin documents the journey of three young table tennis champions, including Asian Americans Ariel Hsing and Lily Zhang, as they compete all around the world for a place in the 2012 London Olympics. The filmmakers have one more shoot left—the London Olympics itself. They hope to release the film in 2013. However, between licensing Olympics-related footage to hiring co-editors, they need $150,000 in order to see this film to completion. As part of Kickstarter, the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects, the filmmakers are campaigning to raise $75,000. Currently, $68,000 has been pledged but they only have until 6:26 EDT to reach their goal. If they are unable to reach $75,000, the filmmakers will not receive any funding. Today, Top Spin is kicking off its live webcast telethon. Tune in to listen to talks by special guests and ask Olympic table tennis players questions! Erica Wu, who we interviewed for Audrey’s Athlete to Watch, is also featured in the documentary. Check out Top Spin’s website to learn more about the film and how you can help. Let’s support our Olympic athletes!
World Championship gold medal gymnast Anna Li may have her foot in a cast, but that’s not stopping her
from aiming for the Summer Olympics in London this July.
ISSUE: Spring 2012
DEPT: My Story
STORY: Anna Li
When I was 4, all I wanted was a sparkly gymnastics competition leotard. My parents told me I couldn’t get one unless I competed, and they were reluctant to get me started. They themselves had been in the 1984 Olympics for China and understood the commitment and discipline gymnastics required. It was demanding, to say the very least. However, I persisted, and by the age of 6, I had started my career in gymnastics.
When I was in high school, I competed at the elite level and trained for six to eight hours a day, six days a week, in addition to attending school. My parents trained me at their gym. With their help, I won a number of titles and placed at Nationals, the USA Championships and the U.S. Classics from 2002 to 2005.
When I was in college, I was a full-time athlete for UCLA and trained to be in all of the 17 competitions each season. Training began anywhere from 5:30 to 7 in the morning and ended at noon, followed by classes till the evening. As a college freshman, I competed in every event in every meet and was the only freshman in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) selected to be on the All-Pac-10 team in the all-around. I suffered a concussion my sophomore year, but I didn’t allow that to slow me down. I captured 19 individual victories, seven on bars, two on beam, four on floor, and five in the all-around. By my junior year, I had won the NCAA Regional title on uneven bars for the third consecutive year. During my last year at UCLA, I earned my fourth consecutive NCAA Regional bars title with a perfect 10. After college, I made the World Championship Team for 2011, the year the U.S. team brought home the gold. Shortly after, I had surgery and got two screws placed in my foot because it had been bothering me.
Right now, I am training to be on the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team at the London Summer Olympics this July. Though it has only been three months since my foot surgery, training has already begun. I’m at the gym all day, every morning and every evening. When you’re involved in the sport of gymnastics, you learn about strict discipline. When you start competing at the age of 6, you know what kind of competition you are competing in, and you know you’ve got to give it all you’ve got. You train your entire life for this kind of competition. It would be sad to shy away from this kind of opportunity.
However, even with my discipline and dedication, I can’t say it’s easy training six days a week with my coaches, who happen to be my Olympic gymnast parents. And I can’t say it’s easy getting up every morning to warm up and start my strength and conditioning. By the time my day is done, I just want to go home, rest, eat and get ready for the next day. There really isn’t much time for anything else.
It’s a lot of sacrifices. I don’t have a regular 9-to-5 job. Even my relationship with my boyfriend is different from most because gymnastics is my number one priority; my relationship isn’t. Who wants to hear that?
But then I have to remind myself what my head coach at UCLA said: “What hurts more — the pain of discipline or the pain of regret? The pain of failure or the pain of regret?” There are days when I want to give up. There is no guarantee that I’m going to make the Olympic gymnastics team. There are only five spots on the team and to get a spot on the team, it’s nearly impossible. But all I can do is train my hardest, and whatever happens, happens. If I try my best and work my hardest, I won’t regret the outcome. I surround myself with people who support my goals and aspirations. My friends and boyfriend understand and support me. My parents know my body and how I train under certain situations. We trust each other. They help me move forward.
It doesn’t matter what your dream is. If you want something, when you believe in yourself, no one can take that away from you if you give it your all. If it works out, that’s great. If it doesn’t, you know you tried your absolute best to be what you wanted to be. If I can accomplish something today, I’m going to push for my dream. I can definitely say I won’t have any regrets.
— as told to Han Cho
More stories from Audrey’s spring issue here.
Former ER writer Shannon Goss muses about life as a hapa Asian American woman.
I recently said that I need to sign up for a half-marathon so I have something to train for. The assumption being, if I have a specific goal I will get in shape (and apparently an upcoming wedding is not enough of a motivator). However, after a quick trip to London, I realized that what I should be training for is life.
We featured Thai designer Disaya in our Winter 2010-11 issue, and she also featured her fall line at Audrey’s Night Out. Educated at the prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design in London, Disaya Prokobsantisukh honed her craft at John Galliano before launching the critically acclaimed Boudoir by Disaya, a lingerie line. She’s since expanded to ready to wear and jewelry that any fashionista would recognize as the right balance between wearability and design. Here are some more looks from her fall line.
For more looks from Disaya, click here.