Saturday, October 2, 2010

Taiwan's International Athletes

So after a long hiatus from the world of blogging...... I AM BACK!
Since I've been in Taiwan for the past bit, I will write about the world of sports and culture here.

I think Taiwan is starving for an International superstar for political leverage and something to unite the country. The political issues surrounding Taiwan and China is a long and complex one, but within Taiwan, the country is divided into two pending on which political party you are supporting. Let's face it... Taiwan is not the most well-known country in the world. The best and easy way to get a country's name out there..... is through the means of sports, media, and culture.
Politics aside... lets take a look at Taiwanese athletes representing the country.

Chien Ming Wang
Former starter.. and arguably the ace for the Yankees few years back. Wang posted back to back 19 wins seasons in the tough AL East but failed to perform in the playoffs. He definitely united the people of Taiwan exemplified by the flags seen at Major League stadiums whenever the Yankees visited different cities. Yankee merchandises sold like mad here in Taiwan.... not to mention the fake Yankee knock-offs.

Hong-Chih Kuo
Breakout season for this pitcher playing for the Dodgers. Playing in a major market in LA i would expect the fanfare to be just as crazy as Chien Ming Wang during his hay-day with the Yankees. With a record of 3-2 and a minuscule ERA of 1.22 he is definitely one of the best pitchers in the majors this year. I think another reason why Kuo is garnering less attention than Wang is because 1. Dodgers is no Yankees 2. Starting pitcher > Setup Pitcher 3. Wang was the first real Taiwanese baseball superstar playing in the majors.

Yani Tseng
This is an amazing case... especially political factors surrounding Tseng. Recently she was offered $25million U.S and a private jet from a Chinese company, but she rejected because one of the stipulation was for her to change her citizenship to Chinese instead of Taiwanese. I was shocked when I heard this. Didn't know you can "buy" a person and make this person a citizen of your country. This just proves the political intensity surrounding Taiwan and China. You don't see Kobe Bryant... Tiger Woods... David Beckham having this problem. A superstar is a superstar at his or her sport and it crosses race and Nationality... thats the beauty of sporting competition.

Looking at Tseng Yani's statistics, she has broken many records from being the youngest person to win tournaments to the youngest person to make a certain amount of money. She is only 21 years old and her future is bright. What is even more impressive is her patriotic ways representing Taiwan not selling out for the money. She is the sweetheart of Taiwan.
Tseng Yani Stats:
- 3 majors - McDonalds LPGA Championship, Kraft Nabisco Championship, Ricoh Women's British Open - 10 Professional Wins
- LPGA Rookie of the year 2008

Politics is funny... it just makes things that much more complicated. Sports break down barriers and unites people but politics does get in the way. People can argue and have wars... but everything just stops when theres a sporting competition. Lets face it... I'm not naive... sports sometimes add more fuel to the fire concerning politics but more often than not... it unites people.