Who was the American figure skater, the first woman to win both the U.S. Senior pairs and ladies figure skating titles and was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in December 2005?
What better way to celebrate the Olympics then to give cheer and remember past American Olympians of all races.
Within the next three posts we'll explore a chapter from the book Beads on a String-America's Racially Intertwined Biographical History
Best of luck Team America.
CONTRIBUTORS IN SPORTS
BENNY AGBAYANI (born December 28, 1971 in Honolulu, Hawaii) is a professional baseball player. He was originally drafted by the California Angels but did not sign. Agbayani was later drafted in the 30th round by the New York Mets on June 3, 1993. He has since been part of the Boston Red Sox, Colorado Rockies, Cincinnati Reds, and Kansas City Royals ball clubs.
Agbayani will forever be remembered among baseball fans for a play on August 12, 2000 while a member of the Mets. Agbayani is also fondly remembered by Mets fans for two clutch Home Runs hit during the 2000 season. On March 30th, his 11th inning Grand Slam against the Chicago Cubs gave the Mets their first win of the season, and a split in the two game series the Mets and Cubs had played in Tokyo, Japan. Later that year, on October 7th, Agbayani hit a game-winning home run in the 13th inning of Game 3 of the National League Division Series against Aaron Fultz of the Giants.
JEANETTE LEE (born July 9, 1971 in Brooklyn, New York) is a highly successful Korean-American pool player. She is nicknamed "The Black Widow" for her tendency to wear black. Lee started playing pool in 1989. She went pro in 1993 and, within months, was already ranked in the top ten of all professional women billiards players. Lee went on to rank as the number one billiards player in the world for a period during the 1990s, and received the WPBA Sportsperson of the Year Award in 1998. As someone who has suffered from scoliosis, Lee is a strong supporter of those affected by the disease, and now serves as the National Spokesperson for the Scoliosis Association, Inc.
KRISTI TSUYA YAMAGUCHI (born July 12, 1971 in Hayward, California) is an American figure skater. In December 2005, she was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. Yamaguchi began skating as a child, as physical therapy for her club feet. She is coached by Christy Ness. With Rudy Galindo she won the junior pairs title at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in 1986. Two years later, Yamaguchi won the singles and, with Galindo, the pairs titles at the 1988 World Junior Pair Championships. Yamaguchi and Galindo won the senior United States Figure Skating Championships pairs title in 1989 and 1990. As a pairs team, Yamaguchi and Galindo were unusual in that they were both accomplished singles skaters, and in that they jumped and spun in opposite directions -- Yamaguchi counter-clockwise, and Galindo clockwise. Yamaguchi was the first woman to have won both the U.S. Senior pairs and ladies figure skating titles. Kristi also won gold in the 1992 Winter Olympics in the Women's Figure Skating Competition.
JOHNNIE JAMES MORTON (born October 7, 1971 in Torrance, California of African-American and Japanese ethnicity.) is a wide receiver in the NFL. He is currently a free agent after being recently waived by the San Francisco 49ers. He was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the 1st round (21st overall) in the 1994 NFL Draft. He played there until 2002, when he signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. He played there for three years. He then signed with the 49ers. Johnnie's younger brother, Chad Morton, also played at USC.
MICHAEL TE-PEI CHANG (Traditional Chinese:張德培; Zhang Dépéi; born February 22, 1972, in Hoboken, New Jersey) is a former professional tennis player from the United States. He is best remembered for becoming the youngest-ever male winner of a Grand Slam singles title when he won the French Open in 1989 as an unseeded player. Utilizing tremendous speed and strong determination, Chang was one of the best counterpunchers of all time and remained in the Top 10 in the ATP world rankings for several years in the 1990s, peaking at World No. 2. He is of Chinese heritage, and therefore was extremely popular in Asia. At that time, there were no other Asian players among tennis' higher ranks.
KRISNA "KRIS" DIM (born May 7, 1973 in Cambodia) is an IFBB professional bodybuilder. Kris Dim's first bodybuilding competition was in the NPC (National Physique Committee) USA Championships, where he took 6th. His first IFBB Mr. Olympia was in 2004, where he placed 12th. His first Arnold Classic was in 2006, where he placed 14th. His first Ironman Pro Invitational was in 2006, where he placed 10th. Kris has been featured in many fitness and bodybuilding articles, including being featured on the cover of FLEX magazine.
DANIEL PETER GRAVES (born August 7, 1973, in Saigon, South Vietnam) is a relief pitcher in Major League Baseball. Born to an American serviceman father and a Vietnamese mother, he is the first and only Vietnam-born player in the history of the major leagues, and one of the few Vietnamese-American players.
DAT NGUYEN (born on September 25, 1975 in Fort Chaffee, Arkansas) is the first Vietnamese American to play in the National Football League. He played for the Dallas Cowboys. In 1998, he was named an All-American and won the Bednarik Award as well as the Lombardi Award.
ELDRICK "TIGER" WOODS (born Eldrick Woods December 30, 1975 in Cypress, California) is an American golfer whose achievements to date rank him among the most successful golfers of all time. He was nicknamed "Tiger" after Vuong Dang Phong, a friend of his father's. Woods became generally known by that name and by the time he had achieved national prominence in junior and amateur golf was simply known as "Tiger Woods."
Woods, who is multiracial, is credited with prompting a major surge of interest in the game of golf among minorities and young people in the United States. Woods' father, Earl Woods, was a Vietnam veteran and a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, of mixed African American (50 percent), Chinese (25 percent) and Native American (25 percent) ancestry. He was the chairman of his son's charitable foundation (the Tiger Woods Foundation) before his death at age 74 on May 3, 2006, following a lengthy battle with prostate cancer. Woods' mother, Kultida Woods, is originally from Thailand, and is of mixed Thai (50 percent), Chinese (25 percent), and Dutch (25 percent) ancestry. This makes Woods himself one-quarter Chinese, one-quarter Thai, one-quarter African, one-eighth Native American, and one-eighth Dutch. He affably refers to his ethnic make-up as Cablinasian (a portmanteau of Caucasian, Black, American-Indian, and Asian), a term he made up himself.
JAMES VO PARQUE (born February 8, 1976 in Norwalk, California) is a former Vietnamese-American pitcher in Major League Baseball He attended UCLA, and was the Bruins' top starter. He earned All-Pac 10 Honorable Mention, leading his school with 84 strikeouts in 14 starts. In 1996 he was the only left-handed pitcher on the Olympics baseball team that won a bronze medal in Atlanta On Jun 24, 2004, he announced his retirement after playing seven seasons of professional baseball due to his recurring arm injury from 2000.
HINES E. WARD, JR. (born March 8, 1976 in Seoul, South Korea) Ward's mother is Korean and his father is African-American. In 2006, Ward became the first Korean-American to win the Super Bowl MVP award. This achievement threw him into the media spotlight in South Korea, a nation with a blood-based social registry that restricts the rights of those not of full Korean blood. () is an American football player who currently plays wide receiver for the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers. He was voted MVP of Super Bowl XL. Recently, he has become a symbol of the benefits of multiculturalism in South Korea.
RICHARD PARK (born May 27, 1976 in Seoul, South Korea) is an American professional ice hockey player in the National Hockey League. He is only the second Korean-born person to play in the NHL. Jim Paek was the first.
TERRMEL SLEDGE (born March 18, 1977 in Fayetteville, North Carolina) is a Major League Baseball player for the San Diego Padres. Sledge is an outfielder whose career began in 2004 with the Montréal Expos. He moved with the team to Washington the following season as the Expos relocated to the American capital. He was traded to the Texas Rangers along with fellow outfielder Brad Wilkerson for second baseman Alfonso Soriano on December 7, 2005. He was then traded to the Padres in a six player deal on December 20, 2005. Before playing with Montreal and the major leagues, Sledge played with the Edmonton Trappers shortly before the team was moved to Round Rock.
CATHERINE FOX (born Dec. 15, 1977) won gold medals at 1996 Olympics in Atlanta as a member of the women's 4x100-meter freestyle relay and 4x100-meter medley relay teams; 21-time All-American at Stanford; set an American record in the 100-meter backstroke (52.47) at the 1999 NCAA Championships.
AMY CHOW ZHOU WANYÍ (born May 15, 1978 in San Jose, California) is an American gymnast and a member of the famous Magnificent 7 who were the first American team to win Olympic gymnastics gold. Her fellow team members were Jaycie Phelps, Dominique Dawes, Shannon Miller, Kerri Strug, Amanda Borden and Dominique Moceanu. Chow was coached by Mark Young and was the first Asian-American woman to take an Olympic medal in her sport. Chow began gymnastics training in 1981, and has been competing in national and international competitions since 1990. She is primarily known for her performance at the 1996 Olympics where she won a silver medal on the uneven bars and team gold. She also competed in the 2000 Summer Olympics, although the team did not win a medal in Sydney. She was the first American woman to perform both the double twisting Yurchenko and the tucked double dismount on bars in international competition.
KEVIN KIM (born July 26, 1978) is an American tennis player of Korean descent. He is currently 86th in the ATP rankings. Currently (2006), Kevin Kim is one of two ethnic Korean players on the ATP Tour. The other is South Korean Lee Hyung-Taik, with whom Kim played doubles at Roland Garros and Wimbledon 2005. In March 2005, Kim achieved a career-high ranking of World No. 63. He has never won an ATP title.
LORRAINE MING FAIR (born August 5, 1978), better known as Lorrie Fair, is a half-Chinese Asian American who is a member of the United States national soccer team, along with other players such as Brandi Chastain and Mia Hamm. Her twin sister, Veronica (Ronnie) Ching Fair, was also a member of the national team, and when Ronnie was called in to participate in a game against England on May 9, 1997 at San Jose, California, it became the first time a pair of sisters played together in national team game for any country.
TOBY DAWSON (born November 30, 1978 in Pusan, South Korea) is an American mogul skier. At the age of three he was adopted from South Korea by a family of ski instructors from Colorado. Currently he has undergone a search to find his biological parents. He won a bronze medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics.
GRACE PARK (born Park Ji-eun on March 6, 1979 in Seoul, South Korea) and is a professional golfer on the LPGA Tour. Park had an outstanding amateur career in the United States, winning most major amateur championships in 1998 including the United States Women's Amateur Golf Championship, and tied for eighth as an amateur in the 1999 U.S. Women's Open. She turned pro that same year, and earned her LPGA card for 2000 by finishing at the top of the SBC Futures Tour money list. She won at least one LPGA tournament in each season from 2000 to 2004, including her first major, the 2004 Kraft Nabisco Championship, where she finished a stroke ahead of Aree Song.