All Scores

Amazin Lethi on Asian, LGBTQ Representation in Sports


Amazin LeThi is a Vietnamese American competitive bodybuilder-turned-sports activist who dedicates her time and efforts to advocating for the AAPI and LGBTQ community. She is the first Asian ambassador for LGBTQ rights organization Stonewall, and has been recognized by the Human Rights Campaign for using her platform in sports to fight for equality.

How were you first introduced to sports? 

I was trying to find my place in society, as I struggled with my sexuality and did not see Asian or LGBTQ representation anywhere. I really wanted to find a sense of community, so I went into sports.

I love sports. I was very athletic as a kid, and I felt like it was a channel to get a sense of escape. Sports gave me a sense of purpose. It gave me a sense of self-worth and confidence that I much needed as a child because of all the bullying and racism that I received. Sports really made me the person that I am today. I can’t remember a moment when I wasn’t doing sports – it’s like brushing your teeth.

But as one of few Asian athletes in sports as a kid, I faced a lot of bullying. Some people thrive and find their spirit through team sports – I did not at all. I found team sports very unwelcoming.

And then how did you get into bodybuilding? 

I fell into bodybuilding at six, which is an unusually early age to begin. I literally fell into bodybuilding. There were some dumbbells lying around the house, and I would spend days doing dumbbell curls, sit ups and pushups. I started going to the gym when I was seven or eight. Bodybuilding gave me a sense of self-worth and confidence. And it was something that I could do alone, away from team sports.

At the same time, bodybuilding is a very heteronormative, masculine and toxic sport that revolves around men. Women are in this male dominated space – trying to create muscles and a perceived sense of masculinity within the realm of femininity. We face pushback from men as we try to break down gender norms. I received a terrible amount of misogyny and sexism as a child – at age seven or eight.

When did you seriously start competing as a bodybuilder?

I started competitively competing as a teenager in natural bodybuilding competitions – often with no other Asian athletes competing alongside me. Most athletes were white, two to three times my size and very, very muscular. I was able to compete a number of times and place every single time as well, because I really worked on the craft.

But I knew as a competitive bodybuilder I wasn’t able to go as far as I would have liked to, just because I just didn’t have the physical stature for bodybuilding and being able to pack on the muscular size that I needed to compete against white athletes. I felt that I accomplished everything that I wanted to do within competitive bodybuilding in the few years I competed.

I can imagine bodybuilding is really tough on your body after a long time.

Because I started bodybuilding at such a young age, I was lifting an enormous amount of weight as I was still growing. For me, I felt the only way I could gain credibility in a completely male dominated environment was by lifting as much or more than them. By the time I was a teenager, my body was already very strained. I was squatting nearly 500 pounds. I was leg pressing nearly a thousand pounds.

The competition really took a toll on me – the amount of dieting that I had to do in a tight timeframe. For many female athletes the dietary restrictions and the pressure you put on your body upsets your natural cycle. At times then you don’t have your cycles. Competing at that level, for me, wasn’t a sustainable plan.

Tell us about your transition to becoming a health expert. 

Through all my years in bodybuilding, I just kind of wanted to create this platform where I could share my knowledge and insight with others. Bodybuilding has given me a very holistic approach to fitness. When you’re working on your body you have to be very precise with the food you eat and what you do with your body. I wanted to share what I bring to the table in sports specific training, and sports nutrition, and psychology.

You are an internationally published Vietnamese health and fitness author. Can you talk to me a little bit about your published work and what it means to you?

I started writing as a freelance health and fitness writer – there are few Asian health and fitness authors that have been published. For me, publishing my writing was a golden moment where I could share the knowledge that I had in my head with the public. To be one of a few Asian health and fitness authors to have their book published was a very strange feeling, because I’d wanted to for so long to see an Asian health and fitness author for so long – I had no idea that I was waiting for myself.

You’ve become a very vocal activist in sports. What does it mean for you to use your platform to advocate for the LGBTQ and Asian community? 

As a child, I did not feel supported by my teammates, coaches or the athletic community at large. I suffered a terrible amount of bullying and homophobia.

In 2020, we still don’t see enough representation of Asian athletes in sports. For example,  Jeremy Lin is one of the few Asian-American basketball players to ever play in the NBA. I remember reading a title that one of the mainstream press had written about him. The headline read, “The chink in the armor.” [ESPN fired the writer who used the offensive racial slur in a headline referring to Lin.] And they thought that was okay. The amount of racism that he received at the professional level and the amounts of racism he has shared about enduring while young – that’s also my story. It’s the story of the Asian community, and a reflection of how sports media has negatively framed Asian athletes.

I need to use my platform and speak up. If I don’t, I’m part of the problem. As a member of the Asian community, I know what it is like, and I know what Asian people are still going through. We have very few Asian athletes in sports, let alone Asian LGBTQ athletes. It’s important that we continuously have conversations on how to create welcoming environments for all athletes that want to participate in sports. I know that Asian athletes are still struggling to get to pro level. If I wasn’t resilient and I wasn’t persistent, I would have dropped out of sports given the level of bullying and discrimination I suffered. I don’t want kids to grow up as an adult and think, “I wish I could have continued, I could have been that pro athlete.”

What’s next for you and the work you do?

We’re in a very special time in sports history where several major sports events will be in Asia over the next few years. [The next two Olympics will be hosted in Tokyo and Beijing, respectively.] This gives us an opportunity to open up conversations with Western countries on the question of how “you’re sending your best teams to Asia, but you’re not sending your best Asian athletes to Asia.” I’m having a lot of these conversations as we head into Tokyo 2021. Sports are coming for everyone.

USWNT to face Costa Rica in final Olympic send-off

uswnt sophia smith and tierna davidson celebrate at shebeilves cup 2024
The USWNT will play their final pre-Olympic friendly against Costa Rica on July 16th. (Photo by Greg Bartram/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

U.S. Soccer announced Tuesday that the USWNT will play their last home game on July 16th in the lead-up to the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris.

The 2024 Send-Off Match against Costa Rica will take place at Washington, DC’s Audi Field — home to both the Washington Spirit and DC United — at 7:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, July 16th. The friendly rounds out a four-game Olympic run-up campaign under incoming head coach Emma Hayes’ side, with the last two set to feature the finalized 2024 U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team roster.

Hayes will appear on the USWNT sideline for the first time this June, helming the team as they embark on a two-game series against Korea Republic hosted by Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado on June 1st followed by Allianz Stadium in St. Paul, Minnesota on June 4th. 

The team is then scheduled to meet a talented Mexico squad on July 13th at Gotham FC’s Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, where the Olympic-bound lineup will attempt to rewrite February’s shocking 2-0 loss to El Tri Femenil in the group stages of this year’s Concacaf W Gold Cup. And while clear roster favorites have emerged from both of this year’s Gold Cup and SheBelives Cup rosters, a spate of recent and recurring injuries means making it to the Olympics is still largely anyone’s game.

Broadcast and streaming channels for the USWNT's final July 16th friendly at Audi Field include TNT, truTV, Universo, Max, and Peacock.

Caitlin Clark’s WNBA start to serve as 2024 Olympic tryout

Clark of the Indiana Fever poses for a photo with Lin Dunn and Christie Sides during her introductory press conference on April 17, 2024
The talented Fever rookie is still in the running for a ticket to this summer's Paris Olympics. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

The USA Basketball Women's National Team is still considering Caitlin Clark for a spot on the Paris Olympics squad, says selection committee chair Jennifer Rizzotti. 

On Monday, Rizzotti told the AP that the committee will be evaluating the college phenom’s Olympic prospects by keeping a close eye on her first few weeks of WNBA play with Indiana.

The move is somewhat unconventional. While Clark was invited to participate in the 14-player national team training camp held earlier this month — the last camp before Team USA’s roster drops — she was unable to attend due to it coinciding with Iowa’s trip to the NCAA Women’s Final Four.

Judging by the immense talent spread throughout the league in what might be their most hyped season to date, competition for a piece of the Olympic pie could be fiercer than ever before.

"You always want to introduce new players into the pool whether it's for now or the future," said Rizzotti. "We stick to our principles of talent, obviously, positional fit, loyalty and experience. It's got to be a combination of an entire body of work. It's still not going to be fair to some people."

Of course, Clark isn’t the first rookie the committee has made exceptions for. Coming off an exceptional college season that saw her averaging 19.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 4 assists per game for UConn, Breanna Stewart was tapped to represent the U.S. at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil less than two weeks after being drafted No. 1 overall by the Seattle Storm. Eight years prior, fellow No. 1 pick Candace Parker punched her ticket to the 2008 Games in Beijing just two weeks after making her first appearance for the L.A. Sparks.

In the lead-up to Paris’ Opening Ceremony on July 26th, USA Basketball Women’s National Team is scheduled to play a pair of exhibition games. They'll first go up against the WNBA's finest at the July 20th WNBA All-Star Game in Phoenix before facing Germany in London on July 23rd.

While an official roster announcement date hasn’t yet been issued, players won’t find out if they’ve made this year’s Olympic cut until at least June 1st.

WNBA teams make history with 2024 season ticket sell-outs

Arike Ogunbowale on the wnba court for the dallas wings
The Dallas Wings are now the third team to sell out their entire season ticket allotment in WNBA history. (Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)

For the first time in history, three different WNBA teams have completely sold out of season ticket plans well before the league's May 14th kick-off.

Call it the Caitlin Clark effect, attribute it to this year’s tenacious rookie class, or look to the skyrocketing visibility of veteran players across the board. But no matter the cause, facts are facts: Tickets to the 2024 WNBA season are selling like never before. 

On Monday, the Dallas Wings became the third team to sell out of season ticket memberships in the league’s 27-year history. The announcement from Arlington came shortly after the Atlanta Dream issued their own season ticket sell-out statement, also on Monday, and almost seven weeks after the back-to-back WNBA Champion Las Vegas Aces made headlines by becoming the first-ever WNBA team to sell out their season ticket allotment.   

According to the Wings, season ticket memberships will fill nearly 40% of the 6,251 seats inside their home arena, College Park Center. The club also said that their overall ticket revenue has ballooned to the tune of 220% this year, spanning not just season tickets but also a 1,200% increase in single ticket sales. There’s currently a waitlist to become a Dallas season ticket holder, a status that comes with extra incentives like playoff presale access and discounts on additional single-game tickets. 

In Atlanta, season tickets aren't the only thing flying off the shelves. The Dream also announced that they broke their own record for single-game ticket sales during a recent limited presale campaign. Sunday was reportedly their most lucrative day, with five different games totally selling out Gateway Center Arena. Individual tickets for all upcoming matchups will hit the market this Thursday at 8 a.m., while a waitlist for season ticket memberships will open up next Tuesday at 10 a.m.

"Excitement around women's sports, particularly basketball, is at an all-time high and nowhere is that felt more than here in Atlanta," Dream president and COO Morgan Shaw Parker said in the team’s statement. "We’ve continued a record-setting growth trajectory over the past three years under new ownership — both on and off the court — and 2024 is shaping up to be our best season yet."

As of Tuesday, season ticket sales revenue for Caitlin Clark’s hotly anticipated Indiana Fever debut haven’t yet been announced by the club. But if these numbers are any indication — not to mention the explosive demand for Fever away games felt by teams around the country — it won’t be long before we see some scale-tipping figures coming out of Indianapolis.

Nelly Korda ties LPGA record with fifth-straight tournament win

Nelly Korda of the United States celebrates with the trophy after winning The Chevron Championship
Nelly Korda poses with her trophy after acing her fifth-straight tour title at The Chevron Championship on Sunday. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

25-year-old American pro golfer Nelly Korda secured her spot in LPGA history on Sunday, notching her fifth-straight title at this weekend's Chevron Championship in The Woodlands, Texas.

Ranked No. 1 in the world by Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, Korda joins Nancy Lopez (1978) and Annika Sörenstam (2005) as just the third LPGA player to rack up five consecutive tour wins. She is also the third No. 1-ranked player to capture The Chevron Championship victory since the rankings debuted in 2006, accompanied by Lorena Ochoa and Lydia Ko.

The Florida native shot three-under 69 in Sunday's final, besting Sweden's Maja Stark despite Stark's valiant come-from-behind attempt in the 18th. Korda finished with a four-day total of 13-under 275, celebrating her two-stroke win by cannonballing into Poppie's Pond, much to the crowd's delight. She left The Club at Carlton Woods with $1.2 million from an overall purse of $7.9 million.

It wasn't long ago that the two-time major champion's current winning streak seemed unimaginable. After maintaining her No. 1 position for 29 weeks, Korda underwent surgery to remove a blood clot from her left arm in 2022. She returned to the course not long after, but failed to win a single tournament in 2023 before seeing a surge in form during the first four months of 2024. As of today, she hasn't lost a tournament since January.

Korda will attempt a record sixth-straight win at next week's JM Eagle LA Championship at Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles, where she'll vie for a cut of the $3.75 million purse.

Start your morning off right with Just Women’s Sports’ free, 5x-a-week newsletter.