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Asian Pacific American Female Athletes Changing the Game

Celebrate Women’s History Month as we learn about Asian Pacific American female athletes who are changing the game today from author Mia Wenjen.

Thank you for having me at Mama Smiles, MaryAnne! Since March is Women’s History Month, I wanted to share a few of the athletes that didn’t make it into my Kickstarter book, CHANGING THE GAME: ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN FEMALE ATHLETES.

Asian Pacific American Female Athletes Everyone Should Know

Eileen Gu, X Games Gold Medalist

The first is Eileen Gu, the first Chinese American to win a gold medal at the X Games. I found her on social media through We Are Resonate. At just 17-years-old, she is the youngest competitor in Women’s Ski SuperPipe at #XGames Aspen 2021!

Eileen is originally from San Franciso and speaks fluent Mandarin. Look for her at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics where she is considered a serious contender for Freestyle Skiing Gold.

In addition to skiing, she’s also a fashion model and can be found walking runways in Paris and New York. She will be attending Stanford University in the fall.

Isabel and Zoe Atkin, Olympic Freestyle Skiers

My neighbor Donna R. told me about two girls who went to our elementary school! They must have been different years from my two daughters because I didn’t know them. They moved to Deer Valley to train year-round.

Isabel (Izzy) and Zoe Atkin are half Malaysian-British freestyle skiers. Izzy Atkin won the bronze medal in Slopestyle Skiing in the Korea Winter Olympics. Izzy and her younger sister Zoe are currently training to make the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022. They both ski for the British Olympic team.

Maureen Louis Harper, WTA Tennis Player

Georgette W, an alumna from my business school, told me about Peanut Louis. She said that Peanut was a role model growing up. I didn’t know about Maureen “Peanut” Louis Harper, a top-ranked junior tennis player and professional tennis player on the WTA tour. Peanut and her husband are now giving back to the community with the Harper for Kids foundation.

Michelle Kwan, Figure Skater

Valarie B. asked if I included her kids’ favorite Asian American athlete, Michelle Kwan. I didn’t because Kristi Yamaguchi is featured in my book and I didn’t want to have two in the same sport. I felt that Asian Americans are over-represented in figure skating.

So… Which Asian Pacific American Femal Athletes Got Featured in the Book?

Changing the Game: Asian Pacific American Female Athletes profiles 18 women in a variety of sports. They also represent a range of ethnicities.

Changing the Game by Mia Wenjen
  • (Eun Jung) EJ Lee Smith (Korean American) is thought to be one of the greatest point guards ever to play women’s college basketball.
  • Chloe Kim (Korean American) is the youngest snowboarder to win Olympic Gold.
  • Miki Gorman (Japanese American) is the only female marathon runner to win both the Boston Marathon and the New York Marathon, twice!
  • Victoria Manalo Draves (Filipino & European American), a diver, is the first woman to win two Gold Medals in both springboard and platform in the same Olympics games, the first Asian-American to medal at an Olympics game, and the first Filipino to win a Gold Medal.
  • Evelyn Tokue Kawamoto-Konno (Japanese American) learned to swim competitively in a ditch through Soichi Sakamoto’s Three-Year Swim Club and is the first Japanese-American female to win an Olympic Medal.
  • Julie Chu (Chinese & Puerto Rican American), a hockey player, is the first Asian-American female to compete for the United States in the Winter Olympics for a sport other than figure skating. She took home three silver medals and one bronze medal from five Olympics.
  • Natasha “Tasha” Kai (Filipino, Hawaiian, Chinese & European American) is the first player from Hawaii to make the full U.S. National Women’s Soccer team. In 2008, she helped the team earn an Olympic Gold medal.
  • Michelle Wie (Korean American) is the youngest female to compete on the PGA Tour and the youngest USGA champion in an adult event.
  • Kristi Yamaguchi (Japanese American) is a two-time Olympic Gold Medal ice skating champion, a two-time singles World Champion, and a two-time pairs National Champion.
  • Amy Chow (Chinese American) is the first Asian American woman to win an Olympic Gold Medal in gymnastics.
  • Anona Naone Napoleon (Native Hawaiian) won the International Makaha Surfing Competition.
  • Michelle Waterson (Thai & European American) is a Mixed Martial Arts champion.
  • Liane Lissa Sato (Japanese American) took home a Bronze Medal for the United States Women’s Volleyball Team at the Olympics held in Barcelona.
  • Catherine Mai-Lan Fox (Vietnamese & European American) is a two-time Olympic Gold Medal winner for swimming.
  • Megan Khang (Hmong American) is the first Hmong American to play on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour.
  • Mohini Bhardwaj (Indian & Russian American) is the first Indian-American gymnast to medal at the Olympics.
  • Naomi Osaka (Japanese & Haitian) is the first female Asian player to hold the number one ranking by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).

My Kickstarter campaign runs through March 11, 2021. What Asian Pacific American female athlete did I leave out? Thanks for sharing!

Meet Author Mia Wenjen

Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom

Please support my Kickstarter project: Changing the Game: Asian Pacific American Female Athletes! My Books: The Elusive Full-Ride Scholarship: An Insider’s Guide, Asian Pacific American Heroes, BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12, HOW TO COACH GIRLS, SUMO JOE, How To Coach Girls ebook with 3 bonus chapters, and Read Your World: A Guide to Multicultural Children’s Books for Parents and Educators. Connect with me: Blog: PragmaticMom, Instagram: PragmaticMom, Twitter: PragmaticMom, Pinterest: PragmaticMom, FaceBook: PragmaticMom, LinkedIn: Mia Wenjen, YouTube: Mia Wenjen.

Are there other athletes out there changing the game who should have been featured in this post or the book? Please share in the comments!

Mia Wenjen
Mia Wenjen
Mia's books include the picture book Sumo Joe (a Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year), Asian Pacific American Heroes, Best #OwnVoices Children’s Books: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Aged 1-12 (a compendium of book reviews to find diversity books), How To Coach Girls (winner of IBPA Benjamin Franklin Silver Award™), and The Elusive Full Ride Scholarship: An Insider’s Guide.
She lives in Boston with her husband, three kids, and Golden Retriever. Mia can be found online @PragmaticMom on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook, and as Mia Wenjen on LinkedIn and YouTube.


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