Li Ning

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Li Ning
— Gymnast —
Li Ling during 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony.jpg
Li lighting the torch at the 2008 Summer Olympics
Personal information
Full name Li Ning
Nickname(s) The little prince of gymnastics
Country represented  China
Born (1963-03-10) March 10, 1963 (age 51)
Laibin, Guangxi
Discipline Men's artistic gymnastics
Head coach(es) Zhang Jian
Retired 1988

Li Ning (Simplified Chinese: 李宁; Traditional Chinese: 李寧; Pinyin: Lǐ Níng; born March 10, 1963 in Laibin, Guangxi) is a well-known Chinese gymnast and entrepreneur. He was born in an ethnic Zhuang family.

Gymnastics career[edit]

Li started training at the age of eight and he was selected into the national team in 1980. In 1982, he won six of the seven medals awarded at the Sixth World Cup Gymnastic Competition, earning him the title "Prince of gymnastics" (体操王子/體操王子).

Li is most famous for winning 6 medals at the 1984 Summer Olympics, which was the first Olympics in which the People's Republic of China participated. He won 3 gold medals (in floor exercise, pommel horse, and rings), 2 silver medals, and a bronze medal. Li became the most decorated Chinese athlete at their first Olympics.

All in all Li won 14 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships titles.

Li took part in his second 1988 Olympics despite carrying injuries. It was an end to an illustrious career, as he was off-form and made crucial mistakes which robbed him of the chance of a medal.[citation needed]

Post-gymnastics life[edit]

Li retired from sporting competition in 1988, and in 1990 he founded Li-Ning Company Limited, which sells footwear and sporting apparel in China. Li remains chairman of the company's board of directors.

Li was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2000, becoming the first Chinese inductee.[1]

At the 2008 Summer Olympics Li Ning ignited the cauldron at the opening ceremony after being hoisted high into the air with cables and miming running around the rim of the stadium.[2][3][4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "LI NING". International Gymnastics Hall of Fame. Retrieved May 12, 2007. 
  2. ^ "Games begin with spectacular show". 2008-08-08. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  3. ^ "Li Flies High at Opening Ceremonies". International Gymnast. 2008-08-08. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  4. ^ Fong, Mei (2008-08-25). "Li Ning on the Beijing Olympics". The Wall Street Journal. 

External links[edit]

Olympic Games
Preceded by
Nikolaos Kaklamanakis
Final Summer Olympic Torchbearer
Beijing 2008
Succeeded by
Callum Airlie, Jordan Duckitt, Desiree Henry, Katie Kirk, Cameron MacRitchie, Aidan Reynolds, and Adelle Tracey