Asian-American Olympic hopefuls vow to fight racism

As reports of anti-Asian violence surge across the United States, Asian-Americans have taken to the streets in protest to share their own stories of racism and make their voices heard.

Asian-American athletes hoping to head to this year's Tokyo Olympics are no exception.

Yul Moldauer, who was adopted from South Korea as a baby, is now an artistic gymnast just one step away from the world's biggest sports event.

"Growing up, you know, I've heard the jokes, the stereotypes and all that and I kind of just pushed it away. But last month I was driving and a lady cut me off. And at the red light, she yelled at me, 'go back to China...' And when I heard those words, you know, I just kind of laughed and shrugged them over because, you know, at the end of the day, you know, my job is to represent this country no matter what."

Law enforcement agencies across the U.S. are scrambling to better protect Asian-Americans, as hate crimes against the community surged by an astounding 145% in 2020, according to a recent report.

"People are getting hit, people are getting slashed, people are getting killed..."

Japanese-American Sakura Kokumai will represent the United States in karate at the Olympics.

She says she was the target of anti-Asian harassment while training at a park just a week ago.

"So basically I just sat there and had him say what he needed to say. And it wasn't until later that I noticed what happened because there were racial slurs at the end of the incident. And I practice a Japanese martial art and I take pride in my sport. And I'm still I think a little bit emotional about it right now."

Kokumai and Moldauer both hope to use their platform as Olympic athletes to continue speaking out against anti-Asian racism.

Meanwhile, they're both focusing on the final stretch before for the Games, which are set to begin July 23.

Video Transcript

[CHANTING]

- As reports of anti-Asian violence surge across the United States, Asian-Americans have taken to the streets in protest to share their own stories of racism and make their voices heard. Asian-American athletes hoping to head to this year's Tokyo Olympics are no exception.

Yul Moldauer, who was adopted from South Korea as a baby, is now an artistic gymnast just one step away from the world's biggest sports event.

YUL MOLDAUER: Growing up, you know, I've heard the jokes, the stereotypes, and all that, and I kind of just pushed it away. But you know, last month, I was driving and a lady cut me off. And at the red light, she yelled at me, go back to China. And when I heard those words, you know, I just kind of laughed and shrugged them over because, you know, at the end of the day, you know, my job is to represent this country no matter what.

- Law enforcement agencies across the US are scrambling to better protect Asian-Americans, as hate crimes against the community surged by an astounding 145% in 2020, according to a recent report.

SAKURA KOKUMAI: People are getting hit, people are getting slashed, people are getting killed.

- Japanese-American Sakura Kokumai will represent the United States in karate at the Olympics. She says she was the target of anti-Asian harassment while training at a park just a week ago.

SAKURA KOKUMAI: So basically, I just stood there, had him say what he needed to say. And it wasn't until later that I noticed what happened because there were racial slurs at the end of the incident. And I practice a Japanese martial art. And I take-- I take pride in my sport. And I'm so, I think, a little bit emotional about it right now. [CHUCKLES]

- Kokumai and Moldauer both hope to use their platform as Olympic athletes to continue speaking out against anti-racism. Meanwhile, they're both focusing on the final stretch before the games, which are set to begin on July 23.