Saturday, August 9, 2014
Born in Russia, in 1986, wrestler Elena Pirozhkova is the top-ranked American female grappler in the 63-kilogram weight class. She joined her first wrestling team in the seventh grade, wrestling primarily against boys. Since then, she has gone on to win, among her many prizes, the World Wrestling Championships silver medal, in 2010, the gold medal, in 2012, and the bronze medal, in 2013. She is also part of the women’s U.S. Olympic team and was the U.S. Olympic Team Trials champion, in 2012.
Sunday, August 3, 2014
Maurice Ashley From Jamaica | Chess Grandmaster
Maurice Ashley was motivated to become the first black chess player to reach the level of International Grandmaster after watching Tiger Woods win the U.S. Masters in 1997. Already an International Master at the time, Ashley then spent two intensive years training and realized his dream in the 1999 Manhattan International. He is now an ESPN commentator, a three-time national championship coach, author, and motivational speaker who works to share his inspirational story and the character-building benefits of chess with underprivileged youth around the world.
Saturday, August 2, 2014
Earlier this week, ESPN reported that the Brandon Rios/Diego Chaves professional boxing match in Las Vegas tonight was in jeopardy Diego Chaves, was stuck in Argentina, just one of the thousands of people around the world unable to secure a visa to enter the United States because of a computer crash at the State Department last week.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said Wednesday that Chaves' visa had finally been taken care of and that he was expected in Las Vegas on Thursday.
Rios, a former lightweight titleholder, and Chaves, a former interim welterweight titlist, are scheduled to meet in the 10-round welterweight main event of an HBO-televised card on Saturday night at The Cosmopolitan.
Arum said Nevada Sen. Harry Reid was instrumental in assisting Chaves to obtain his visa.
Friday, August 1, 2014
Paulina Porizkova From Czech Republic | Fashion Model
Paulina Porizkova became the first woman from Eastern Europe to appear on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. After appearing on covers of top magazines—and winning a contract of unprecedented value with Estée Lauder—American Photo named her “the model of the 1980s.” She has since branched out from modeling, appearing in several films, participating as a judge in America’s Next Top Model, and writing both a children’s book and a novel.
Porizkova holds dual U.S. and Swedish citizenship. Born in Czechoslovakia, she was a toddler when her parents fled Czechoslovakia to Sweden to escape the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion. She was left in the care of her grandmother. Czechoslovakian authorities would not allow her parents to reclaim her, and the ensuing battle was widely publicized in the Swedish press, making Porizkova a cause célèbre. After a failed rescue attempt, in which her mother was detained by the national police, international political pressure caused the government to allow the family to be reunited after seven years. Porizkova acquired Swedish citizenship.
Friday, July 25, 2014
Sanya Richards-Ross won the gold medal in the 400-meter event at the 2012 Olympics—the pinnacle of her career and a triumph after she had overcome serious health problems due to Behcet’s Disease, with which she was diagnosed in 2007. She is also the winner of three other Olympic gold medals for the 4×400-meter relay in 2012, 2008, and 2004. Recently she joined the fight against cancer in the Livestrong Foundation.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
The New Yorker Reports (in jest?) that "In his boldest move yet to address the immigration crisis, on Thursday Texas Governor Rick Perry dispatched the Dallas Cowboys to the United States’ border with Mexico." The article goes on to report that "there were questions about how effective the Cowboys would be in stopping illegal immigrants, since the team has the worst-ranked defense in the N.F.L."
The Dallas Cowboys website has yet to confirm or fdeny the new assigmennt of America's Team. Rumor has it that the Cowboys will open up the exhibition season in San Diego so as not to stray too far from the border region.
Hat tip to Cappy White.
Yulia Zagoruychenko, a professional dancer, won her first major title at the age of 12 when she became Russian Junior National Champion. Since immigrating to the U.S., she has won numerous titles, including the World South American Showdance Championship and the US National Professional Latin Championship. Beginning each year since 2010, Zagoruychenko and her partner Riccardo Cocchi have won the championship for the U.S. in the World Professional–Professional Latin competition category of the World Dance Council.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Mario Andretti is considered one of the greatest racecar drivers in the sport’s history. Born in 1940 in Montona, Italy, he was inspired as a child by the Italian Grand Prix and built his first racecar as a teenager in America. Over a five-decade career, Andretti won numerous races, including the Formula One World Championship, the Daytona 500, and the Indianapolis 500, excelling in virtually every type of car and track. He has published three autobiographies and is currently at work on a number of business ventures.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Major League Baseball Oakland A's slugger Yoenis Céspedes won the 2014 Gillette Home Run Derby last night at Target Field in Minnesota. He had 30 home runs on the evening, defeating Cincinnati Reds third baseman Todd Frazier in the final round.
Born in Cuba, Céspedes also won the 2013 Home Run Derby last year in New York and becomes the first player to win back-to-back Home Run Derbys since Ken Griffey, Jr. in 1999.
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
I understand that voting continues on the last spots on the Major League Baseball All Star teams. Still, the final results of the foreign-born compositions of the teams will change little.
Foreign Born 22 (33%)
U.S. Born (including Puerto Rico) 44 (67%)
American League Starters Country of Birth
C Matt Wieters, Orioles United States
1B Miguel Cabrera, Tigers Venezuela
2B Robinson Canó, Mariners Dominican Republic
SS Derek Jeter, Yankees United States
3B Josh Donaldson, Athletics United States
DH Nelson Cruz, Orioles Dominican Republic
OF José Bautista, Blue Jays Dominican Republic
OF Mike Trout, Angels United States
OF Adam Jones, Orioles United States
C Salvador Pérez, Royals Venezuela
C Derek Norris, Athletics United States
C Kurt Suzuki, Twins United States
1B José Abreu, White Sox Cuba
1B Víctor Martínez, Tigers Venezuela
1B Edwin Encarnación, Blue Jays Dominican Republic
1B/OF Brandon Moss, Athletics United States
2B José Altuve, Astros Venezuela
SS Alexei Ramírez, White Sox Cuba
3B Adrián Beltré, Rangers Dominican Republic
3B Kyle Seager, Mariners United States
OF Yoenis Céspedes, Athletics Cuba
OF Alex Gordon, Royals United States
OF Michael Brantley, Indians United States
RHP Yu Darvish, Rangers Japan
RHP Max Scherzer, Tigers United States
RHP Félix Hernández, Mariners Venezuela
RHP Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees Japan
LHP Jon Lester, Red Sox United States
LHP David Price, Rays United States
LHP Scott Kazmir, Athletics United States
LHP Mark Buehrle, Blue Jays United States
LHP Sean Doolittle, Athletics United States
RHP Greg Holland, Royals United States
LHP Glen Perkins, Twins United States
RHP Dellin Betances, Yankees United States
National League Starters
C Yadier Molina, Cardinals Puerto Rico
1B Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks United States
2B Chase Utley, Phillies United States
SS Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies United States
3B Aramis Ramírez, Brewers Dominican Republic
OF Andrew McCutchen, Pirates United States
OF Carlos Gómez, Brewers Dominican Republic
OF Yasiel Puig, Dodgers Cuba
C Jonathan Lucroy, United States
C Devin Mesoraco, Reds United States
1B Freddie Freeman, Braves United States
2B Dee Gordon, Dodgers United States
2B Daniel Murphy, Mets United States
SS Starlin Castro, Cubs Dominican Republic
3B Todd Frazier, Reds United States
3B Matt Carpenter, Cardinals United States
IF/OF Josh Harrison, Pirates United States
OF Charlie Blackmon, Rockies United States
OF Hunter Pence, Giants United States
OF Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins -- starting DH United States
RHP Johnny Cueto, Reds Dominican Republic
LHP Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers United States
RHP Zack Greinke, Dodgers United States
LHP Madison Bumgarner, Giants United States
RHP Adam Wainwright, Cardinals United States
RHP Tyson Ross, Padres United States
RHP Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals United States
RHP Julio Teherán, Braves Colombia
RHP Craig Kimbrel, Braves United States
LHP Aroldis Chapman, Reds Cuba
RHP Francisco Rodríguez, Brewers Venezuela
LHP Tony Watson, Pirates United States
RHP Pat Neshek, Cardinals United States
Thanks to UC Davis undergraduate Arden Gabor for pulling this information together.
Monday, July 7, 2014
An immigrant from Cuba, Los Angeles Dodger outfielder Yasiel Puig yesterday was named to the National League All Star team. Having an outstanding season after coming up to the majors last season, Puig has is an amazing immigration story about coming to the United States.
This year, Puig is hitting .307 with 12 home runs, 50 RBIs and 50 runs.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Switzerland’s prospects of advancing to the knockout stage of the soccer World Cup rests on an issue that has split the country: immigration. According to Bloomberg, 15 members of the 23-player squad, which faces Honduras today in Switzerland’s final group game, have parents or grandparents who weren’t born in the country.
UPDATE (4:30 PST): Switzerland beat Honduras 4-0.
Friday, June 20, 2014
Here is some immigration-related news from the Boston Marathon bomber case. A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that the oath of citizenship cannot be used against accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev at his coming trial.
When the government announced its intentio to seek the death penalty against Tsarnaev, it alleged a number of aggravating factors and described Tsarnaev’s actions as “especially heinous, cruel and depraved,” thus justifying the death penalty. The “aggravating factors” included the multiple killings, the death of a child, the large crowd that the Boston Marathon draws, the iconic event and the shootout that Tsarnaev allegedly engaged in with police several days after the bombings. Tsarnaev’s attorneys objected to the government’s listing of “betrayal of the United States” as another aggravating factor. It was, according to the government, a betrayal of the oath he took when he became a U.S. citizen: “I will bear true faith and allegiance.”
Tsarnaev, an ethnic Chechen whose family came from Dagestan, took that oath seven months before the bombings that killed three, injured 260 others and led to the shooting death of a police officer.
“He betrayed his allegiance to the United States by killing and maiming people,” the government asserted in January.
In a status conference Wednesday, Judge George O’Toole granted a defense motion and dismissed the government allegation as “unduly prejudicial.”“Drawing a distinction between naturalized and natural-born is highly inappropriate,” O’Toole said.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Monday, June 16, 2014
We have seen a rose in xenophobia in Europe in recent years. Jason Overdorf on Business Insider raises the interesting question of what World Cup soccer would look like if immigrants were banned from the competition.
Broadly defining “foreigner” as anyone with at least one foreign-born parent, Switzerland would lose two-thirds of its players. France and the Netherlands might be knocked out of contention. And Algeria, Ghana, Turkey or even Suriname could win it all.
A truly international team,the San Antonio Spurs routed the Miami Heat 1 and win the NBA championship. The Spurs have a team with players from all over the world, including Australia, Italy, France, Argentina, Canada, and Brazil. Manu Ginobili (Argentina) and Tony Parker (France) are the most well-known, but the Spurs have several other international players as well.
In contast, the Miami Heat, led by Lebron James, is a home grown United States team, with the team composed of players born in the United States.
Thursday, June 5, 2014
The UK's Daily Mail reports that professional boxer Floyd Mayweather, a recent victor in a surprisingly close fight with Argentina's Marcos Maidana, has cancelled a tour of Britain. "The world’s No 1 pound-for-pound boxer is reported to have encountered a visa problem which prevents him boarding his flight to London." Although it is unclear what the visa problem is, Mayweather has had criminal problems in the United States and served a recent jail sentence for assaulting a former girlfriend.
Sunday, June 1, 2014
The San Antonio Spurs defeated the Oklahoma Thunder last night in the National Basketball Association playoffs and advance to the finals to play the Miami Heat. The Spurs have a team with players from all over the world, including Australia, Italy, France, Argentina, Canada, and Brazil. Manu Ginobili (Argentina) and Tony Parker (France) are the most well-known, but the Spurs have several over international players as well.
Sunday, May 11, 2014
Stiverne won a vacant heavyweight world title in the first boxing event to be held at the Galen Center on the campus of the University of Southern California. With the victory, Stiverne became the first Haitian-born heavyweight titleholder. He claimed the belt that Vitali Klitschko vacated in December to turn his focus on politics in Ukraine.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Jesse Katz in Los Angeles Magazine tells the story of enigmatic Los Angeles Dodger star Yasiel Puig, who fled Cuba by hook or by crook to Mexico and ultimately the United States. As Los Angeles Tims reporter Bill Plaschke writes,
"In an account featuring on-the-record interviews and court records, Katz details how, in June of 2012, Puig was smuggled to Mexico by members of the Los Zetas Mexican drug cartel, his trip funded by a Miami air-conditioning repairman named Raul Pacheco who was on probation for attempted burglary. The smugglers held Puig in a seedy Mexican hotel for more than two weeks while attempting to extract increased payments from Pacheco. Eventually Puig was taken from the hotel by a gang organized by Pacheco and soon thereafter joined the Dodgers by signing a $42-million contract.
The stunning timeline doesn't even scratch the surface of a compelling tale that recounts Puig's humble childhood in a tiny rural village, how he was dropped from his Cuban league team for disciplinary reasons, reports of his failed defections, and accusations that he turned in potential defectors to the Cuban government while planning his own escape."