Li Ning

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Li Ning
Li Ling during 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony.jpg
Li lighting the torch at the 2008 Summer Olympics
Personal information
Nickname(s)Prince of gymnastics
Country represented China
Born (1963-03-10) March 10, 1963 (age 57)
Liuzhou, Guangxi, People’s Republic of China
Height1.64 m (5 ft 5 in)
Weight58 kg (128 lb)
DisciplineMen's artistic gymnastics
Head coach(es)Zhang Jian
Li Ning
Simplified Chinese李宁
Traditional Chinese李寧

Li Ning (born March 10, 1963 in Liuzhou, Guangxi) is a retired Chinese gymnast and businessman. He founded the eponymous sportswear company Li-Ning.

Gymnastics career[edit]

Li started training at the age of eight and 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 six medals at the 1984 Summer Olympics, which was the first Olympics in which the People's Republic of China participated. He won three gold medals (in floor exercise, pommel horse, and rings), two silver medals, and one bronze medal. Li became the most decorated Chinese athlete at the first Olympics that China participated in after the founding of the People's Republic in October 1949.

Li won 11 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships medals, including gold medals in the rings (1985) and team all-around (1983).[1]

Li took part in his second 1988 Olympics in Seoul despite carrying injuries. It was an end to an illustrious gymnastic career, as he was off-form. He made crucial mistakes and consequently missed out medals.[citation needed]

Post-gymnastics life[edit]

Li Ning on a 1996 Azerbaijani stamp

Li retired from sporting competition in 1988, and in 1990 he founded Li-Ning Company Limited, which sells footwear and sporting apparel in China.[1] Li remains chairman of the company's board of directors. According to Hurun Report's China Rich List 2014, he has an estimated fortune of RMB 5 billion, making him the 407th wealthiest person in China.[2]

Li was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2000, becoming the first Chinese inductee.[3]

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.[4][5][6]

Li is married to Chen Yongyan, a fellow gymnast who won an Olympic bronze in 1984.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Li Ning". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 2020-04-17.
  2. ^ "China Rich List 2014 – Li Ning". Hurun Report. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  3. ^ "LI NING". International Gymnastics Hall of Fame. Retrieved May 12, 2007.
  4. ^ "Games begin with spectacular show". 2008-08-08. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
  5. ^ "Li Flies High at Opening Ceremonies". International Gymnast. 2008-08-08. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
  6. ^ Fong, Mei (2008-08-25). "Li Ning on the Beijing Olympics". The Wall Street Journal.

External links[edit]

Olympic Games
Preceded by
Stefania Belmondo
Final Olympic torchbearer
Beijing 2008
Succeeded by
Catriona Le May Doan, Steve Nash,
Nancy Greene and Wayne Gretzky
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