Tokyo Olympics

Police Arrest Man Accused of Berating Team USA Karate Athlete Training at Park for Olympics

Sakura Kokumai, who qualified for this summer’s Olympics in karate, was training at an Orange County park when a stranger began yelling at her and making threats.

NBC Universal, Inc.

A man accused of assaulting a Southern California Asian couple and threatening a U.S. Olympian who was training at an Orange County park has been arrested.

Michael Vivona, 25, of Corona was arrested Sunday on suspicion of elder abuse and committing a hate crime in connection with an assault on a Korean American couple. He also was arrested in the April 1 encounter with 28-year-old Sakura Kokumai, who qualified for this summer’s Olympics in karate

Details about the arrest were not immediately available. It was not immediately clear whether the suspect has an attorney. 

Kokumai, a seven-time national champion, shared video of the encounter with a man who yelled at her in Grijalva Park in the city of Orange. In video shared on Instagram, the man can be seen berating her as she works out at the public park.

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It makes me emotional just to think about it because at the time I did feel that I was alone.

Sakura Kokumai

“Go home stupid,” the man can be heard saying. “I’ll f— you up. I’ll f— your husband up or boyfriend or whoever you’re talking to on the phone.”

Kokumai is Japanese American, but she said the man yelled something about her being Chinese as he drove away. 

“The only two words I picked up were ‘Chinese’ and ’sashimi,’ which have no connection at all,” Kokumai told NBCLA. “Nobody likes to be yelled at by a complete stranger.”

Kokumai was at the park to go for a jog as she prepares to represent the United States in front of the world at the Olympics in Tokyo. 

Kokumai said she shared the video to spread awareness about harassment against Asian Americans. 

“I want everybody to know, especially in the AAPI community, that you’re not alone,” Kokumai told NBC News. “I think it’s really important to have compassion, share love and look out for one another.

“It makes me emotional just to think about it because at the time I did feel that I was alone."

In the aftermath, Kokumai said she received heartwarming messages of support. 

“They made me feel that I do belong here,” Kokumai said. 

Details about the other crime for which the suspect was arrested were not immediately available. 

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