Asian athletes give back during quarantine


With people being required to stay indoors and prohibited from holding large gatherings, athletes across the board have had their seasons postponed, and the Olympics has been postponed to next summer. However, some Asian American and Pacific Islander athletes are among those helping out amid the pandemic, while other athletes have found other ways to occupy their time.

Alex and Maia Shibutani
The Olympic figure skating duo of siblings Alex and Maia Shibutani, known as the “Shib Sibs” on social media, have raised more than $32,000 as of May 6 via a GoFundMe fundraiser to provide front line workers with personal protective equipment.

Alex Shibutani. photo courtesy of Team USA

Their April 17 @shibsibs Instagram post states, “If you donate $50 or more to our GoFundMe charity page that directly supports @getusppe (an organization working to solve the critical PPE shortage crisis on the front line), we will schedule a 15-minute call with you and your sibling…”
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During the quarantine period, the siblings have created a new Zoom livestream show, “ShibShow.” Their first episode with Alan Yang, the director of “Tiger Tail,” is on their Instagram page.

Maia Shibutani. photo courtesy of Team USA

Chloe Kim
Snowboarding Olympic gold medalist Chloe Kim has donated a signed used snowboard to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, to encourage others to donate. Donors who contribute to the organization’s COVID-19 response fund, will have the chance to win the snowboard.

In another Instagram post on her @chloekim account, Kim encouraged people to donate to the philanthropy organization with a photo of her own $15,000 donation. Kim has also teamed up with Protect Our Winters and joined the Outdoor State, “a community of more than 50 million passionate skiers, snowboarders, trail runners, mountain bikers, climbers and anglers across the country,” according to another Instagram post.

Katelyn Ohashi
Katelyn Ohashi, the former 10-time All-American UCLA gymnast, has joined a campaign led by Athletes for Impact.

The Los Angeles Rams’ Taylor Rapp, who is of Korean descent, and gymnast Ohashi have partnered with California nonprofits to launch “A Global Call for Racial Solidarity Under Covid-19 Pandemic.”

The campaign led by the global social justice organization for athletes opposes the racism and xenophobia directed toward Asians as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, ESPN’s The Undefeated, reported. Ohashi is conducting Friday live poetry reading sessions on her Instagram account, @katelyn_ohashi. According to her April 21 post, she “wanted to create an interactive space where you guys send your poems to me every Wednesday by noon and I pick one or two to join me during that week’s live!”

Ohashi recently teamed up with Gotham Gymnastics in New York to help gymnasts stay active during quarantine. Ohashi, co-founder of the gym Daniel Miranda and UCLA head coach and Gotham Gymnastics advisory board member Valorie Kondos Field participated in a Q-and-A-format interview session March 22 that was live streamed through Instagram, according to “Good Morning America.”

Marcus Mariota
New Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Marcus Mariota’s Motiv8 Foundation teamed up with Island Insurance Foundation and Keith and Bonny Amemiya to cover 1,000 free grab-and-go meals for Kauluwela and Palolo Elementary School students, during the coronavirus lockdown in Honolulu, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Three-hundred breakfasts and lunches will be distributed daily at Kauluwela Elementary School and 200 breakfasts and 200 lunches at Palolo Elementary School, the newspaper reported. The meals were expected to be distributed between March 30 and April 30, with the possibility of the time frame extending to the end of the school year, on May 29, depending on the state’s Department of Education school schedule, the article said.

Kyla Ross
Former Olympic gymnast Kyla Ross recently won the 2020 Honda Sport Award for gymnastics, a prestigious honor for female college athletes, according to the UCLA Athletics Website. During the COVID-19 lockdown, the mixed-race Nikkei retired gymnast is continuing to take her online classes for her molecular, cell and developmental biology major, according to her Instagram post of an “Inside Gym,” account takeover.

Yuta Watanabe
With the NBA season on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, some players are unwinding by playing video games or doing home workouts. Yuta Watanabe, a Japanese forward for the Memphis Grizzlies, is honing his skills. An Instagram post from April 4 shows Watanabe doing dribbling drills. In a series of videos, he’s seen dribbling a basketball between his legs while catching a small ball and dribbling between his legs while bouncing the ball. These drills improve a player’s dribbling ability, along with their hand-eye coordination.

Yuta Watanabe. NBAE via Getty Images

In another post on his @yutawatanabe12 account, he uses his 6-foot-8-inch frame to demonstrate the space people should keep from one another in social distancing.

Rui Hachimura
Washington Wizards Japanese rookie sensation Rui Hachimura appears to be spending his quarantine, for the most part, relaxing, as the NBA has postponed play. The ninth overall pick in last year’s NBA draft played in a basketball video game (NBA 2k) tournament. Hachimura lost to Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker in the quarterfinals of the tournament on April 9, according to an NBC Sports article.

Hachimura took over the Wizards’ Twitter account and hosted a Q-&-A with the team’s followers on April 14.

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