Asian American Olympians representing the United States are competing for gold in Tokyo as Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are targets of violence and bigotry back home. Advocates say the anti-Asian hate is taking a mental health toll on Asian Americans, and Asian American athletes are entering the games under the added pressure of competing in Asia before a worldwide audience.
At least two Asian American athletes say they experienced episodes of bigotry as they prepared to compete in the Olympics and as other Asian Americans have encountered assaults linked to anti-Asian hate.
Karate athlete Sakura Kokumai, a Hawaii-born woman to Japanese immigrants, told a recent USA Today virtual forum that she endured racist slurs and verbal harassment before going for a run in a park. Gymnast Yul Moldauer, born in Seoul and adopted by American parents as an infant, told the same forum he was recently cut off in traffic by a motorist who then yelled at him: go back to China.
Snowboarder Chloe Kim, a first-generation Korean American and an Olympic halfpipe gold medalist, said she has received hateful Instagram direct messages that have taken a toll on her mental health.
Anti-Asian hate crimes reported to police in the U.S.’s largest cities jumped 189% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same period of time in 2020, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.
Read more at Axios.com.