CHINESE OLYMPIC SPEED SKATING CHAMPION, YANG YANG’S CAREER ADVICE TO THE YOUNG GENERATION OF ATHLETES IN THE SPIRIT OF FAIR PLAY:
Yang Yang is the first speed skater in China to have won gold medal in the Olympic Winter Games for her home country. She holds countless titles in speed skating. She is Olympic silver medallist in 3,000m relay in 1998 in Nagano, Olympic Champion in 500m (China’s first gold medal in Winter Games) and in 1,000m. Furthermore, she received silver medal in 3,000m relay in 2002 in Salt Lake City and bronze medal in 1,000m in 2006 in Turin. Yang Yang collected 59 World titles throughout her professional career and she has been the winner of the most world titles in China.
She has strongly been committed to giving back to her beloved sport and since her retirement she has been devoting much of her time and energy to educate the young generation of athletes. Yang Yang occupies leading positions in various sports organisations and she is also member of the International Olympic Committee’s Athletes Commission. She founded the China Champion Foundation which focuses on sports education for children and career development of retired athletes.
Participating in the Lillehammer 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games, Yang Yang paid a visit to the CIFP Fair Play Booth and shared her advice for the youth.
“When I was an athlete I had a harsh training schedule. I was concentrating on my performance so much that I did not have time for making friends and living a life outside sport. This was a huge sacrifice during my 23-year long career. Hard work paid off and I became one of the best in my discipline. Nevertheless, when I retired from competitive sport, I realized that I had to re-learn life and living. I took this challenge, earned a university degree and started to have family. I have always had the motivation to be the best not only on, but also off the sporting field. My advice for the prodigies would be to live in the real world as much as possible besides training hard in order that they can be ready for the new and exciting challenges of life once they complete their professional sports career. Great champions live in the spirit of sportsmanship and contribute to the betterment of their communities and the world in general.”