With Glowing Hearts

The Olympic Flame is Ablaze, making its way to Vancouver, Canada, where the 2010 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XXI Olympic Winter Games, will kick off February 12. here, some of the Koreans and Asian Americans who will grace the world’s most inspiring athletic stage.

For more information, visit www.vancouver2010.com

by Andrew Jo

illustration by Eric Sueyoshi

Simon Cho
Short Track Speed Skating, U.S.A.

The youngest member of the U.S. short track team, Cho, 18, is competing in his first Olympics. Awarded a spot after winning the 500m race at the U.S. Olympic Trials, Cho, who was born in Seoul, began skating when he was 3 years old. Cho qualified for his first World Cup team in 2006-2007, and began his training as a pacer for the U.S. national women’s team.

J.R. Celski
Short Track Speed Skating, U.S.A.

Celski, a five-time medalist at the 2009 World Championships in Vienna, is also a two-time overall title winner at the U.S. Junior Championships (2007, 2008). Missing the age requirement at the Turin Olympics by 17 days, Celski, 19, is confident he will be able to participate in his first Olympic Games, despite suffering a leg injury in the 500m quarterfinals at the U.S. Olympic trials.

Julie Chu
Hockey, U.S.A.

As a collegiate athlete, Chu was a three-time All-American at Harvard and is the NCAA career record holder for points (284). The first Asian American member of the U.S. national team, Chu has been a part of a winning tradition, taking the world titles in 2005, 2008 and 2009, and world silver medals in 2001, 2004 and 2007. The 2010 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team, announced on Dec. 17, includes six Olympians and 10 World Champions.

Sho Kashima
Freestyle Skiing, U.S.A.

A two-time U.S. Champion in the dual moguls (2006, 2009), Kashima, 23, who placed seventh in the dual moguls and 30th in the  moguls at the 2007 World Championships, will be competing in his first Olympic Games. Born in Texas and raised in California, Kashima began skiing at the age of 4 after his family relocated to South Lake Tahoe.

Lee Sang-Hwa
Long Track Speed Skating, South Korea

A bronze medalist in the 500m at the 2009 Vancouver World Championships, Lee Sang-Hwa, 20, will be competing in her second Olympics. Entering international competition at the age of 14, Lee, who specializes in sprint distances, will be competing in the 500m and 1000m distances in Vancouver.

Lee Ho-Suk
Short Track Speed Skating, South Korea

Competing in his second Olympics, Lee Ho-Suk, 23, is already one of South Korea’s most decorated winter athletes. Capturing silver medals in the 1000m and 1500m, and a gold in the 5000m relay at the 2006 Games, Lee, the reigning World Champion in the 1000m, 1500m and overall competition, is a favorite in all short track speed skating distances.

Mirai Nagasu
Figure Skating, U.S.A.

The second youngest winner of the U.S. senior ladies’ title, Nagasu, 16, was the 2008 U.S. National Champion and a two-time World Junior Medalist. Unable to accept her bid to the 2008 World Figure Skating Championships on account of her age, Nagasu was assigned to the 2008 World Junior Figure Skating Championships, where she won the bronze.

Lee Kang-Seok
Long Track Speed Skating, South Korea

The reigning World Champion in the 500m and bronze medal winner at the 2006 Winter Games, Lee Kang-Seok, 24, enters his second Olympic Games with high expectations. Lee set a world record in the 500m in 2007 with a 34.25-second time, but it has since been eclipsed by Canadian Jeremy Wotherspoon, Lee’s top competition in the event heading to Vancouver.

Lee Kyou-Hyuk
Long Track Speed Skating, South Korea

The elder statesman on the South Korean speed skating team, Lee Kyou-Hyuk will be competing in his fifth Olympic Games. Finishing fourth in the 1000m at the 2006 Games, Lee, 31, who comes from a family of winter athletes, won a silver medal at the 2009 World Single Distance Speed Skating Championships in the 500m.

Apolo Ohno
Short Track Speed Skating, U.S.A.

Appearing in his third Olympic Games, Ohno has won at least one medal in each short track speed skating distance. With his gold in the 500m, silver and bronze in the 1000m, gold in the 1500m, and bronze in the 5000m relay, Ohno, 27, is tied with Eric Heiden as the most decorated U.S. male winter athlete. Along with his Olympic prowess, in 2007 Ohno partnered with Julianne Hough and won the Dancing with the Stars competition.

Caroline Zhang
Figure Skating, U.S.A.

The 2007 World Junior Champion and 2009 U.S. Bronze Medalist, Zhang, 16, has won three consecutive medals at the World Junior Championships. Competing in her first Olympic Games, Zhang made her senior ISU Championships debut finishing fourth at the 2009 Four Continents Championships.