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August 19th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Diana

Name: Ngew Sin Mei

Hails from: Malaysia

Occupation: Olympic jumper

Why She’s a Babe: You’d think that Malaysia’s former triple jumping champion would see leaping as old hat after so many years of competition–but with her tiny frame and long, lanky limbs, she looks happy as a cricket soaring through the air on each attempt. We love her bouncy step, perky smile, and in-the-air flair. Who knew field athletes could be so darn cute?


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August 18th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Diana

Name: Liu Xiang

Age: 25

Hails from: China

Known for: Being the first Chinese athlete ever to achieve the athletics “triple crown”–World Record Holder, World Champion and Olympic Champion–in the 100m hurdles.

Our hats go off to him for attempting to race through the pain this weekend in defense of his titles, even with a fuzzed-up Achilles tendon…the “face” of China’s games trying so hard to save face. Even though he was ultimately forced to bow out, he did so with effort and honor, and we’ve gotta give him credit for that (even though we’re pretty sure his Hardass Asian Parents/Friends/Fans/Media won’t).

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I Am Thirteen, Going on Seventeen

August 15th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Diana

I started high school at the tail end of my twelfth year, which wasn’t so strange for me considering I was a fookin’ genius from birth started school early and was always two years young for my grade. By age thirteen, I had clocked in a season of high school cheerleading, seven broken heart episodes, and enough time as VP of my class to think that I ran the whole goddamn place. I swooped ahead to take AP Biology and chemistry at the same time, and started tutoring kids older than me in regular biology, or what I had started referring to as “elementary-level science for the masses.” I ruled. At thirteen years of age, I totally fucking ruled. Thirteen? I felt twenty-three.

Still, it wasn’t enough to just rule. The varsity football team found out how young I was on my first day in the halls, after which, none of them would touch me with a grabby-hand or a ten foot pole (unless, I suppose, they wanted to spend their senior year in jail). There was no faking my age, not with a seat in AP Bio, not with a fake ID, not with a stuffed bra, not with a very well-crafted lie. And thus, for me, there would be no feel-ups by BMOCs, no freshman year glory screws, just me, my AP Bio book, and my ego to keep me company.

It’s no wonder that I have paid special attention the controversy surrounding the champion Chinese gymnasts, many of whom have been scrutinized by every media outlet in the world (besides the Chinese) for lying about their ages.

Sure, they look young, but don’t We all?

Sure, sure, it’s important that, if the girls in question really are thirteen or fourteen rather than sixteen (as their legal passports state), there’s a whole institutionalized cheating thing being perpetuated by Chinese authorities and we’ve got a real fucking problem on our hands.

But let’s not bury the headline. There is, essentially written proof that at least one Chinese gymnast, He Kexin, was reported last year by Chinese press as aged thirteen, and now that story is being repudiated as inaccurate. Written proof! And all this chick has to tell reporters is, “My real age is sixteen. I don’t pay any attention to what everyone says,” and everyone nods their heads and the FIG and IOC give their collective thumbs-up, and the team goes on to win its gold medal, blah blah blah. If all of this drama is actually true, it surely boils down to this: Kexin and Co. have got some damn good people working with ‘em.



Paldies, Mari!

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Team Dar + 4Eva

August 6th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Diana

Joey Cheek, Olympic speed skating gold medalist and co-founder of athletic activist group Team Darfur, had his visa revoked by the Chinese government yesterday, a day before he was to depart for Beijing to support this year’s competitive athletes in the summer Games. This denial makes a very loud statement about exactly what kind of private citizens (i.e. those that don’t chair outspoken organizations that condemn activities of their government) China wants for the warm and fuzzy spectacle of the 2008 Games.

And they are within their rights to do so. As the NYT reported today, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement defending the country’s right to determine a person’s entry, explaining, “The visa issue is a country’s sovereign affairs… The purpose is to provide a proper, secure environment for people watching and attending the Games.”

Now with no international podium to stand on (and no highly televised fetes to attend), it makes sense that Cheek should worry about how now to shine a spotlight on Team Darfur’s mission.

From AP:

[Cheek] had planned to attend a United Nations Olympic celebration and some charity events but wasn’t planning any big Team Darfur demonstrations. Now he’s scrambling to figure out how to draw attention to his cause back home in Washington.

We wondered that as well. However, considering the steadily piling stream of news articles hitting the hot list less than 24 hours after Cheek’s visa was pulled:

… attention might be the last thing he has to worry about. This may be the best “fuck you” that China could have possibly given to Team RAD!

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Olympic Winners and Liu-sers

July 30th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Diana

I can just see the editorial meeting at Harper’s Bazaar:

Editor-in-Chief Jamie Huckbody tells one of the underlings that this summer is “all about the Olympics.” The staffers buzz with creative worry and focus.

“The Olympics are so hot right now.”

“But the Games are so controversial. It’s that whole China thing.”

“They’re in Beijing right now? What’s Beijing couture? Is everything silk? Silk, silk, silk!”

“No seriously. Steven Spielberg isn’t even going.”

We need something that’s like China-America fusion. China-American unity! Like PF Changs!”

“I love that. I love that!”


And so we have…

Hunh. I always knew “fusion” was a bad word. Take that, Miles Davis.

Thanks, Jasmine!

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File Under Weird Chinese Behavior

July 10th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

Wei Shengchu, world record holder in the Guinness Book for acupuncturing himself with 1,790 needles, shows his Olympic pride by wearing 205 needles, one for each country represented at the Games. For the Opening Ceremony, Wei plans to break his record by inserting 2,008 needles in his head.


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SPORTS ILLUSTRASIAN: The Power of Prayer Hands

May 8th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

On Monday, the International Olympic Committee expanded upon its protest guidelines (Rule 51.3 of the Olympic charter) governing athletes participating in the Summer Games. Rule 51.3 states:

“No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”

The IOC’s addendum elaborated on what qualifies as a protest “demonstration” or “propaganda”:

“…all actions, reactions, attitudes or manifestations of any kind by a person or group of persons, including but not limited to their look, external appearance, clothing, gestures, and written or oral statements.”

In other words, chanting “Free Tibet!” or wearing the Dalai Lama’s Muppet-like mug on a t-shirt will not be permitted. There is, however, a way to circumvent Rule 51.3, if one were so inclined. It’s something that I couldn’t have imagined serving any purpose until now.

International symbol of vague spirituality? Yes.
Annoying Hollywood trend? Affirmative.
Political gesture? Not at first glance.

Who knew that Prayer Hands–pardon the pun–could come in so handy?


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AMAZIAN OF THE WEEK! The Korean Women’s Field Hockey Team

May 5th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Diana

Name: Korean National Women’s Field Hockey Team

Occupation: (see above)

Known for: last weekend’s victory over the Italian team to qualify for the Olympic games in Beijing this summer. Keep your eyes on Mi Hyun Park, MVP of the qualifier match. Actually, take a look at all of them–who knew that field hockey players could be so cute besides Kim Deal?


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No Rest for the Asian

April 1st, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Diana

As we mentioned last week, Kristi Yamaguchi has been leading the pack of this season’s Dancing With the Stars cast since they burst out of the gate.

This week marks the third in which Yamaguchi rocked a score of triple nines, an impressive display that allows her to hold on to her lead for both the episode and the current overall. I dunno about you, but I’d be patting myself on the back–gently but repeatedly–for such stellar scores right about now.

…But we all know that an A-minus average isn’t enough for the gold medalist, right? Here’s her take:

“‘I’m still kind of racking my brain, but I think I definitely need to take it to another level emotionally and within my face to get the performance to another level,’ said Yamaguchi.”

TRANSLASIAN: “My parents watch the show and call me up after every episode, telling me that I should practice harder, stretch more, work longer. My mother won’t let her friends tune in until I start getting tens. She told me: ‘Dancing with star, world championship, olympic, same thing! You should get perfect score!’ I won’t rest until I see ’30.’ I hate myself so frickin’ much right now.”

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Tibetan Protestasian

March 14th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Diana

The Tibetan capital of Lhasa exploded into violence this morning when Chinese police battled the protests of ethnic Tibetans.

The New York Times reports:

“Witnesses say angry Tibetan crowds burned shops, cars, military vehicles and at least one tourist bus.

The chaotic scene was the latest, and most violent, confrontation in a series of protests that began on Monday and now represent a major challenge to the ruling Communist Party as it prepares to play host to the Olympic Games in August.”

Related to this story, reports also show that numerous ethnic Tibetans were overheard chanting, “See how we DO, Björk? Now this is fuckin’ protest.“*

*No Tibetans were actually overheard making the above-mentioned comments, but we sure as hell think one should have.


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War of the Words

February 20th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

Ever since Steven Spielberg bailed as artistic adviser to the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, citing his “conscience” over Darfur, China and its people have been pissed. Below, please find an excerpt from the AP story “China media, public angered by Spielberg”:

A biting front-page editorial Wednesday in the overseas edition of the People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s official newspaper, blasted Spielberg for his decision.

“A certain Western director was very naive and made a movie about being trapped in an airport terminal as dismal as it sounds, despite the presence of Catherine Zeta-Jones’ smokin’ hotness,” it said.

Over the weekend, the Guangming Daily, also published by the Communist Party, ran an editorial saying Spielberg “broke his promise to make a contribution to the Beijing Olympics by making one last Indy sequel with that old guy, whatshisname.”

An editorial in the China Youth Daily was equally scathing.

“This renowned film director is famous for his science fiction. And his gaggle of children. He clearly does not understand China’s one-child policy, so he does not understand China.”

Also, “His wife creeps us out tremendously and we don’t know why,” it said…

As E.T. would say, Damn! And, Ouch!

Click here for the real story.

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Oh, Rats!

February 4th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Diana

PETA has reached out to the Chinese Government to consider welfare laws for rats–and not even just the really cute and big ones.

AP reports:

“Rats sing, they dream, and they express empathy for others,” Coco Yu of PETA’s Asia-Pacific branch said in a statement.

After careful considerasian of PETA’s proposal, the Chinese government issued this response*:

“PETA. Why you so crazy you waste our time with rat letter. We are so busy right now prepare for Olympics. We not concern with dreaming and empathy, those things pose threat to our institution. We don’t care about rats’ rights; we have enough trouble caring about people. Do you see how we want to jail human rights activist Hu Jia? As soon as we have time, you are next.”

*Not an actual response. China has not actually generated an official statement to respond to PETA, although we’re pretty sure it would sound a little something like “PPPfffffffttttt.”

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