It was a story that made headlines around the world.
An all-girl team from Afghanistan applied for visas to come to the First Global Challenge, an international robotics competition taking place in Washington, D.C. this week.
And their visa request was denied.
They weren’t the only team to face visa hurdles. The team from Gambia — two girls and three boys — was also denied when they first applied.
“Having no hope to come, we still worked,” says the team’s captain, 18-year-old Alieu Bah. “We never give up, no matter how hard the condition is. That’s how we pushed and pushed and pushed until we finally reapplied and got our visa, and here we are now.”
Q: Who is the “teacher” in their partnership? Wenjing says they are a team and they are the same, they both learn and work hard to improve themselves. Though she was stuck in the hospital for a few months, Han Cong continued to train and run ahead. After she came back she thought, oh, he’s way ahead of me now, and then she had to run extra hard to catch up. In pairs skating, both partners have to reach the same level, and scores are given based on the weakest element. It’s very important to get both partners to the same level so they train and learn everything together - though she might still be the slightly weaker partner right now. Cong says pretty much the same thing.
Q: Have they ever bought/received gifts for/from each other when something momentous happened? Wenjing: Yes, but she doesn’t remember right now (everyone laughs). At an event this season she saw a ukelele and thought it was really pretty, then Cong bought one for her. She doesn’t even really like it, she just thought it was pretty, so this gift sticks out in her memory.
Q: Has Han Cong ever given a gift that he put a lot of thought/emotion into? Cong: Not really. One time they were competing at (2015) 4CC in Korea (Interviewer: “I bet this was the 4CC you won.”) Actually, they placed 4th that time (everyone laughs). One of their spins was invalidated and they felt very disappointed, so they went out and bought matching bags. It encouraged them and gave them the feeling that they would do better at Worlds that season. VISA cards support them everywhere in the world (everyone laughs).
Sui/Han talk about staying in Helsinki for 2 days after Worlds to meet the presidents of China and Finland. They were very honored by the experience.
Q: What have they been doing lately? Wenjing: They just came back from Canada the day before, where they were getting new choreography and preparing for the new season.
Q: What is their new music? Wenjing: They have picked out new music but it’s a secret for now.
Q: Is the music more Western or Chinese? Wenjing: It’s a secret.
Q: Why did they choose “Bridge Over Troubled Water”? Wenjing: Last year they made a very big decision (to get surgery). Since 2012 the ligaments in her feet have been broken and some of the bone was also shattered. She has been bearing it for years because she loves skating and really wants to continue, even though it hurts. Before the surgery she was really struggling and their results were not very good. But because they had these results, they are standing here today.
Q: How did Han Cong feel while waiting for Wenjing’s surgery to end? Cong: The surgery wasn’t supposed to last very long, but it ended up 2-3 hours longer than expected. He was waiting there along with Wenjing’s mother and all the Team China leaders. When they pushed Wenjing out her face was white and she was smiling, “It’s finally over, I could hear them grinding my bones.” Wenjing: Before they gave her more anesthetics she could “taste” the saw grinding at her bones, there was a burning taste. It was pretty scary, she was crying nonstop the first hour, laughing deliriously the second, and she can’t remember the third hour so she probably fell asleep.
Wenjing says she doesn’t understand money very well, she just swipes her credit card and leaves the bills to her mom (everyone laughs).
Asked to say something to their partner: Wenjing is thankful for meeting Han Cong on her figure skating journey. When she was little and didn’t really understand the world, he was like a locomotive pulling her ahead. Though she now has her own goals and knows what she needs to do, there are still times she’s uncertain, and during those times he is like a lamp shining on her and helping her go in a better direction. She thanks him for staying by her side all these years, no matter what they went through, they walked through pain and hardships together. This year is their 10th year of partnership, when she was in Canada she sent out a weibo message about it. This is their first 10 years and they received their first present, their first World title. In their next 10 years she hopes they will achieve even better results.
Cong: Wenjing in his heart is an incredibly strong, determined girl. She’s more amazing than all other girls. In these 10 years, especially the previous year, she suffered such a serious injury, went through the torture of surgery and rehab. Compared to others she had very little time to train, but in this time she was able to regain a level that allowed them to win the World Championships. She has given far more effort than him, suffered through far more pain than him. He hopes the future will hold no more pain for her, and in order to win more titles, they will continue to work hard together.
Hallie Mossett (born March 15th 1995) is a former international elite gymnast who is currently a senior at UCLA, majoring in sociology. She did her club training at West Coast Elite Gymnastics in California.
Visa backing Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir as they gun for 2018 Winter Olympics
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir will have Visa on board when they go for gold at the Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang this winter.
The Canadian ice dance stars are part of the company’s 17-country athletic roster, joining fellow Canucks Mark McMorris and Spencer O'Brien (snowboarding), Charles Hamelin (speed skating), Travis Gerrits (freestyle skiing) and Paralympian Mac Marcoux (alpine skiing).
Virtue and Moir’s old rivals and ex-training mates – Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White – are also part of the Visa team, even though they won’t compete in South Korea. This program was created in 2000 with the “aim of providing athletes with the tools, resources and support they need to achieve their lifelong dreams, regardless of their origin or background.”
Virtue and Moir are celebrating their 20th season of skating together. The reigning world champs became the first North American duo to win Olympic gold at Vancouver in 2010 and followed up with silver in Sochi in 2014.
TEAM VISA! So proud and excited to announce @meryledavis and I are a part of the team once again. @visa_us support for the Olympics and Paralympics is incredible, and their support for the athletes is second to none. So join me in cheering along with/cheering for our awesome #teamvisa teammates!! Reppin Team USA we have all around awesome people! Follow along with them here- @oksanamasters @maggie_voisin @chloekimsnow @davidwise_ @schendrickson @jamieanderson @hilaryknight @mikaelashiffrin @guskenworthy
where one member occasionally dresses as the opposite team to sneak into the base of their significant other, and no one notices
no one questions why there is suddenly more than one sniper or spy or demo or what have you
no one even considers that that person might be an enemy spy
cue an entire sitcom about the member from blu trying not to reveal themselves to the red team (or visa versa) and occasionally messing up codewords and previously set orders which leads to spectacular disasters and yet…. that person is never assumed to be the cause of it
meanwhile the person who let their SO sneak into their base just keeps rolling their eyes and groaning like “why did i have to choose THIS idiot??”
Charitable Giving Made Easy With Contactless Payments
Visa Canada and Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation team up to conquer cancer with contactless donations
This weekend, Visa Canada and The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation teamed up for a payment pilot project that enabled the first contactless donation in Canadian fundraising history using a standalone smartphone.
The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation in Toronto was recently named the second in the world for research performance and annually hosts the Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer (RHCC) tournament. The RHCC event features more than one hundred teams and thousands of participants playing five games of road hockey, each with family and fans cheering on the sidelines. Over the past four years, the event has raised more than $9 million for cancer research at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR CHASE SAPPHIRE PREFERRED - Team Visa athletes Meryl Davis and Charlie White are seen at Chase Sapphire on Main during the 2015 Sundance Film Festival Sunday, January 25, 2015, in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Jack Dempsey/Invision for Chase Sapphire Preferred/AP Images)