United States Gymnastics | USA Gymnastics is hosting a panel on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Gymnastics that focuses on Asian American and Pacific Islanders
INDIANAPOLIS, May 21, 2022 – In recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, USA Gymnastics will host a live panel on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Gymnastics on Tuesday, May 24th, focusing on the Asian American experience and Pacific Islander (AAPI) concentrated from 1-2 p.m. ET.
Athlete panelists Raj Bhavsar and Serena Lu, and photographer John Cheng will discuss their experiences both within the gymnastics community and more broadly as Americans.
USA Gymnastics Chief Legal Officer Debbie Shon, a leader in the Asian American cultural and legal community, will co-host with USA Gymnastics Chief Communications and Marketing Officer Jill Geer.
Meet the panelists:
Bhavsar, who was a member of the US men’s national team from 2001 to 2009, is an Olympic bronze medalist as part of the 2008 US Olympic team in Beijing, China. He also served as a reserve on the 2004 Olympic team and was an integral part of the silver-medal winning World Championship teams in 2001 and 2003. A collegiate gymnast at Ohio State, Bhavsar was a 10-time All-American, winning two NCAA individual titles in addition to the 2001 team title title and was named 2002 OSU Male Athlete of the Year. He also created two moves of the same name: one on parallel bars, one on still rings. A Houston native, he was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten pick and has a degree in business administration. He currently serves as the Junior High Performance Coordinator for the US Gymnastics’ Men’s Program.
The photographer behind the lens of some of the most memorable US gymnastics photos of the past 15 years, Cheng hails from Taipei, Taiwan. When he immigrated to Texas in 1980 as a 13-year-old, he grew up working and even studying at his mother’s and stepfather’s restaurant. Cheng earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Texas A&M and has worked in the IT industry for companies including Dow, Enron and UBS. When his daughter started doing gymnastics, the “gymnastics father” became a gymnastics photographer. He left IT in 2009 to pursue his passion for photography – and gymnastics – full-time. With his wife Selma as his partner, Cheng founded Team Photo, which covers grassroots, regional and national events across the country. He also serves as the principal photographer for the USA Gymnastics national team, covering national and international competitions, including the Olympics.
One of the most well-known American rhythmic gymnasts of the past decade, Lu was a member of the National Rhythmic Gymnastics Team from 2010-2018 and is a five-time USA National Championships all-around bronze medalist. She was a member of the 2014 and 2015 World Cup teams and attended the 2017 Taipei University Games as a student at Princeton University. She graduated in 2020 as a law student with a major in psychology and minors in dance and cognitive science. She now works with the Manhattan Attorney’s Office and dances with Movement Headquarters, a New York-based contemporary ballet company. Lu is currently one of two elected members of the USA Gymnastics’ Athletes’ Council, which represents the interests of US rhythmic gymnasts, and is also a gymnastics representative on the Athletes’ Advisory Council of the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee.
Moderator: Debbie Shon, USAG General Counsel
As an international executive director, attorney and national leader in the Asian American community, Shon has been with USAG since April 2021. Her resume includes serving as CEO and Chief Legal Officer of Ticketmaster China, Vice President of International Trade Law and Global Public Policy at US Steel, and Deputy US Trade Representative during the Clinton Administration. As the first woman to be a registered NBA agent, Shon has received the Wiley W. Manual Pro Bono Award from the California State Bar Board of Governors for her work in the community following the Los Angeles civil unrest. She is also the recipient of the 2016 USC Asian American Leadership Award, the 2019 Daniel Inouye Trailblazer Award, and the 2019 National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) Women’s Leadership Award. She currently serves on the Smithsonian National Board of Advisors and chairs the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center Board of Advisors. Her uncle, the late Dr. Sammy Lee, was the first diver to win consecutive Olympic gold medals in platform diving (1948, 1952) and the first black man to win the James E. Sullivan Award for Best American Amateur Athlete.