Southern California

‘Stars on Ice' Led by Team USA's Asian Americans

There were more than a dozen Asian Americans representing Team USA at the 2018 Winter Olympics at PyeongChang

NBC continues to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month by highlighting the "Stars on Ice" show that currently features prominent figure skaters from the 2018 Winter Olympics.

There were more than a dozen Asian Americans representing Team USA in PyeongChang.

"We're taking on the world, I feel like. We're taking on the US." Arcadia native Mirai Nagasu, who became the first American woman to land a triple-axel at the Olympics, responds when reminded of the Asian American representation in South Korea. "Now, it's like a wave."

Without a doubt, Nagasu is riding that wave and putting in motion the ripples for the next wave. Taking part in the "Stars on Ice" tour with several fellow Olympians, one cannot help by notice the Asian American faces that come out to support the tour and the impact these special athletes are having on their communities.

"Growing up, I didn't have a lot of Asian American role models to look up to," Nagasu says. "For me, I'm all about the culture and representing the Japanese American community as well, and so, to see Asian Americans on the rise really means a lot to me."

Another star of the 2018 Olympics who doesn't take the role of role model lightly is Nathan Chen, "The Quad King."

"Growing up in a Chinese family, I never really thought that I'd be able to make the Olympics," Chen says. "That wasn't really an agenda for my parents. They just wanted all of their kids, me and my siblings, to just have a good life, to be happy. Obviously, education was very important."

Fresh off winning the World Figure Skating Championships, Chen is going from the ice to the Ivy League. Chen is heading to Yale in the fall, which should make his parents as proud as winning an Olympic medal.

Despite their international superstar status, Southern California's figure skaters remain humble but conscious of their impact on the next generation of Asian Americans.

"I think lots of Asian kids don't see themselves as role models," 2018 Winter Olympian and "Stars on Ice" skater Vincent Zhou says.

Zhou and his fellow Olympians have sacrificed precious family time and put in countless hours of dedication to attain their status on the ice. That doesn't mean that these proud Asian Americans don't hold their heritage near.

"I wear this jade necklace," Olympian Karen Chen says, as she shows off the simple piece of jewelry around her neck. "It just reminds me of family all the time. When I wear it, I feel protected and close."

This collection of proud Asian Americans on the "Stars on Ice" tour understand and welcome the idea that they are shaping the dreams of future Asian Americans, one skate at a time.

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