Throwback Spotlight: Asian Olympics

Binh Tran | May 30, 2023

As a multi-sport tournament for Asian-Americans, the Asian Olympic Games began in 1980 at the University of Texas in Austin. Throughout the years the games have shuffled between UT Austin, UT Arlington and Texas A&M and were organized by the VSA (Vietnamese Student Associations) of each host institution.


Events included flag football, kickball, tennis, volleyball and basketball with winners receiving trophies and all participants getting goodie bags. Of the many events featured, basketball was said to be the tournament’s biggest and most competitive event.


The tournament was philanthropic based as proceeds raised benefitted non-profit organizations such as the Catalyst Foundation’s Project Backpack. Project Backpack supports disadvantaged families in a rural area of Vietnam through a variety of programs including primary and secondary schools, health services, education about trafficking, children rights and child development, and teaching sustainable and practical means of earning an income.


The games were a testament to the growth of Asian groups at college campuses. By large measure, one of the host cities Arlington, TX and it's staple university UT Arlington are richly diverse communities with Arlington ranking 15th among large cities in terms of cultural diversity with UT Arlington fifth among national universities for undergraduate ethnic diversity.


The tournament grew to an outstanding size throughout the years, opening doors for other institutions outside of Texas to participate. 


“When we started off, we wanted to create unity between all the VSAs in Texas, now we are inviting people and groups from all over Texas, and even Oklahoma and Kansas.” - Huong Duong, 2008 UTA Vietnamese Student Association President 


In 2019, the decision to indefinitely end the Asian Olympics was reached in consensus by the three host school VSA's as the organizations met complications financially and logistically. Though the event came to an end, it's legacy is never forgotten with stories and memories held by four decades of play.

Skip Advertisement




Skip Advertisement


Related Articles