Li Ning

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For other uses, see Li Ning (disambiguation).
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Li.
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 52)
Laibin, Guangxi
Height 1.64 m (5 ft 5 in)
Weight 58 kg (128 lb)
Discipline Men's artistic gymnastics
Head coach(es) Zhang Jian
Retired 1988
Li Ning
Traditional Chinese 李寧
Simplified Chinese 李宁

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

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.

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 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 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 2013, he has an estimated fortune of $700 million, making him the 461st 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 Li Ning.
  2. ^ "China Rich List 2013". Hurun Report. Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  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
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