American gymnastics | USA Gymnastics will host a panel focused on diversity, equity and inclusion in gymnastics, focusing on Asian Americans 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 experiential gymnastics Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) on Tuesday, May 24 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.

Debbie Shon, Legal Director of USA Gymnastics, a leader in Asian American cultural and legal communities, will host alongside Jill Geer, USA Gymnastics Director of Communications and Marketing.

Participants must register to join, and live audience members will be able to ask questions throughout the conversation. A recording will be available on the USA Gymnastics website and Youtube channel.

Meet the panelists:

Raj Bhavsar
A member of the United States Men’s National Team from 2001 to 2009, Bhavsar was an Olympic bronze medalist with the 2008 United States Olympic Team in Beijing, China. He was also an alternate for the 2004 Olympic team and was an integral part of the silver medal-winning teams at the 2001 and 2003 World Championships. As a college gymnast at Ohio State, Bhavsar was a 10-time All-American, a won two NCAA individual titles in addition to the 2001 team title and was named OSU Male Athlete of the Year 2002. He also created two eponymous moves: one on parallel bars, one on stationary rings. The Houston native was a three-time All-Big Ten academic draft pick and holds a degree in business administration. He is currently the Junior High Performance Coordinator for the USA Gymnastics Men’s Program.

John Chen
The photographer behind the lens of some of the most memorable American gymnastics photos of the past 15 years, Cheng hails from Taipei, Taiwan. Migrating to Texas in 1980 at the age of 13, he grew up working and even studying in the restaurant owned by his mother and stepfather. Cheng received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Texas A&M and worked in the computer industry for companies such as Dow, Enron and UBS. When his daughter started doing gymnastics, the “gym dad” became a gymnastics photographer. In 2009, he quit IT to pursue his passion for photography – and gymnastics – full time. With his wife, Selma, as his partner, Cheng established Team Photo, which covers local, regional and national events across the country. He is also the principal photographer for the USA Gymnastics National Team, covering national and international competitions, including the Olympics.

Serena Lu
One of the most recognizable American rhythmic gymnasts of the past decade, Lu was a member of the national rhythmic gymnastics team from 2010 to 2018 and is a five-time all-around bronze medalist at the United States National Championships. She was a member of the 2014 and 2015 World Championship teams and competed at the 2017 University Games in Taipei as an undergraduate student at Princeton University. She graduated in 2020, graduating as a law student with a major in psychology and minors in dance and cognitive science. She now works with the Manhattan District 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 Athlete Council representing the interests of American rhythmic gymnasts and is also a representative for the sport of gymnastics on the Athlete Advisory Council of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

Moderator: Debbie Shon, USAG Legal Director
An international business executive, lawyer, and national Asian-American community leader, Shon has worked for USAG since April 2021. Her resume includes serving as CEO and General Counsel of Ticketmaster China, Vice President for International Trade and global public policy at US Steel and Deputy US Trade Representative during the Clinton administration. The first woman to be a registered NBA agent, Shon is a recipient of the Wiley W. Manual Pro Bono Award from the Board of Governors of the State Bar of California for her work in the community following civil unrest in Los Angeles. 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 is chair of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center Board of Advisors. His uncle, the late Dr. Sammy Lee, was the first diver to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals in platform diving (1948, 1952) and the first person of color to win the James E. Sullivan Award as the best American. amateur athlete.

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