Widely regarded as one of the greatest Chinese basketball players ever, Yao Ming represented the Houston Rockets of the NBA. Known as the Ming Dynasty in the US, Ming's popularity and success in the NBA made him a symbol of China. One of China's most popular sportsmen, Ming is also credited with introducing the Chinese Basketball Association to the world.
With 666 career wins, including two Olympic and two World Cup golds, Lin Dan is one of the veterans of Chinese badminton. He is the only player to achieve a Super Slam, winning all nine major badminton titles. Known for his fitness and attacking style, Dan retired at 37.
Jet Li is one of the most popular Asian actors to have made it big in the American film industry. A martial artist and former Wushu champion, he won a national championship before retiring from competitive Wushu to focus on his acting career. Also a well-known philanthropist, Jet Li is closely associated with the Red Cross Society of China.
Chen Long is a Chinese competitive badminton player best known for winning a gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in the men's singles event in Rio de Janeiro. Chen has also won gold medals at World Championships, Asian Games, and Asian Championships. A former world number 1, Chen has also won the Sudirman Cup on five occasions so far.
Yip Man was a Chinese martial artist best remembered for teaching martial arts to the famous Chinese American martial artist, Bruce Lee. Yip Man is credited with teaching not only Bruce Lee but also many other students who went on to become martial arts masters. A biographical martial arts film titled Ip Man was inspired by his life and career.
Hou Yifan is a Chinese chess player who won two gold medals at the 2010 Asian Games. Hou, who achieved the grandmaster title in 2008, is the second-highest-rated female chess player ever. Hou is also the youngest ever player to win the Women's World Chess Championship title. She is also regarded as the greatest female chess player of her generation.
Ma Long created history by becoming the first male table tennis player to score a Double Grand Slam and has 5 Olympic gold medals in his kitty. Known for his forehands and looping shots, he has also earned nicknames such as the Dictator and the Dragon, and is a national hero in China.
Wong Fei-hung was a Chinese physician, martial artist, and folk hero. Wong is the subject of many television series and films. Between the 1940s and 1980s, Wong was portrayed by Hong Kong actor Kwan Tak-hing in over 70 films which earned Kwan the nickname Master Wong. Wong was also played by Jet Li in Once Upon a Time in China.
At 16, Ding Liren became the youngest Chinese Chess Champion. He was also the first player to reach the World Cup finals twice back-to-back. The Chinese chess grandmaster is also a law school graduate. He remains the highest-rated chess player from his country and has won the Chinese Championship thrice.
Li Na is a Chinese former tennis player. A former world No. 2, Li Na won two Grand Slam singles titles over the course of her career. She achieved international recognition in 2011 after becoming the first Asian Grand Slam singles champion. In 2019, she became the first Asian-born player to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Hurdler Liu Xiang created history by becoming the first Chinese Olympic gold medalist in any men’s track-and-field event. While he excelled in high jump in his younger days, he deviated to hurdles by 15. He has also earned gold medals at the world championships and the Asian Games.
Sun Yang is a Chinese competitive swimmer best known for winning three Olympic gold medals. Sun has also won 11 FINA World Championships and nine gold medals at Asian Games. Sun is the first man in the history of competitive swimming to win the World Championship and Olympic gold medals at every single freestyle distance between 200 and 1500 meters.
Zhang Jike is a Chinese professional table tennis player who won a gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in men's singles, becoming only the fourth male player to achieve a career Grand Slam in the history of table tennis. He also has two other Olympic gold medals and seven World Championship gold medals under his belt.
Gordon Liu is a Chinese martial artist and martial arts film actor best known for his portrayal of San Te in the 1978 Hong Kong kung fu film The 36th Chamber of Shaolin. He then went on to appear in popular films like Kill Bill: Volume 1. Gordon made his Bollywood debut in the 2009 film Chandni Chowk to China.
Chinese martial artist Wong Jack-man is best remembered for his duel with Bruce Lee in 1964. The duel was mired in controversy, as it was held privately in Oakland. There are different accounts of the fight, and Wong released his own version in the Chinese newspaper Chinese Pacific Weekly.
Wu Jing is a Chinese martial artist, actor, and director best known for playing important roles in martial arts films like Fatal Contact, Tai Chi Boxer, and the SPL films. Widely regarded as one of the most bankable Chinese actors of all time, Wu Jing has been featured in the Forbes China Celebrity 100 list on a couple of occasions.
Three-time Olympic champion Ma Lin is the only male table tennis player with wins in the singles, the doubles, and the team events in the Olympics. He is also a 9-time world champion. Now a successful coach, he also often collaborates with the table tennis equipment brand Yasaka, to develop new products.
Li Ching-Yuen was a Chinese martial artist, herbalist, and tactical advisor. Li Ching-Yuen, who is believed to have lived off a diet of rice wine and exotic herbs throughout his life, is best remembered for his extreme longevity claim. According to his claim, Li Ching-Yuen lived for 250 years, although gerontologists consider that to be a myth.
Former world number one in singles Li Xuerui has 14 Superseries titles in her kitty. She is also a former Olympic gold medalist. Known for her attacking stance, she ruled the badminton scene before an injury at the Rio Olympics interrupted her career. She retired from international badminton in 2019.
Eight-time world champion Ding Ning also has 4 Olympic medals, 3 of which are gold. The former Chinese table tennis sensation announced her retirement on Weibo in 2021. She is now pursuing a university course in physical education. She earned the unofficial title of the Queen of Hearts for her popularity.
Former badminton player Fu Haifeng is known as one of the most successful men’s doubles players in history. Along with partner Cai Yun, he has earned an Olympic gold. The duo is also the only doubles pair with four world titles and was named to BWF's Hall of Fame.
Retired badminton player Xie Xingfang is a former singles number one and a two-time world champion. She has won countless medals, including an Olympic silver, an Asian Games gold, and a World Cup gold. She was also known for her high-profile relationship with badminton sensation Lin Dan.
One of the greatest volleyball players in history, Lang Ping gained the name Iron Hammer. The former Olympic gold medalist now coaches the Chinese national women’s volleyball team. Her story was one of the many featured in the Chinese sports movie Leap, which traced the country’s women’s volleyball history.
Named to the Forbes list of 30 Under 30 in Entertainment and Sports, from Asia, Chen Yufei was inspired to take up badminton while watching the 2008 Olympics as a 10-year-old. Now an Olympic gold medalist herself, she also has tons of other medals in her kitty, including two Sudirman Cup gold medals.
Chinese tennis star Wang Qiang had begun playing tennis at the tender age of 9. She was initially trained in Japan and grew up idolizing Steffi Graf. Best known for her serve and her speed, she became the second-highest-ranked player from her country, after Li Na, when she ranked 12th in singles.
Olympic gold medalist Liu Shiwen has also won 5 World Cup and 4 Asian Cup titles. She also has an Olympic silver in her kitty. One of the fastest players in the table tennis circuit, she has also been riddled with injuries, such as her elbow injury which took away most of 2020.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist, Zhang Nan mostly won games in mixed doubles with his partner Zhao Yunlei. He has won medals in all major events, such as the Sudirman Cup and the Asian Games. Post-retirement, he became a doubles coach and was then made the chairman of the CBA.
Apart from being a 5-time world champion, Lü Xiaojun is also a 2-time Olympic gold medalist. His gold win at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, at 37, made him the oldest weightlifter to achieve the feat. He also won a silver at the Rio Olympics. He is married to fellow world-class weightlifter Guo Xiyan.
Legendary Chinese gymnast Li Ning not only has 3 Olympic gold medals in his kitty but is now also a billionaire entrepreneur and the owner of a self-titled sports apparel and equipment brand. Starting training at age 8, he later earned the unofficial title of the Prince of Gymnastics in China.
Chinese badminton sensation Shi Yuqi upset champion Lin Dan to reach the finals of the All England Open in 2017 and won the tournament in 2018. In 2016, he won his first French Super Series title. His wins also include a gold at the 2018 Asian Games and the 2014 Youth Olympic Games.
Chinese table tennis player Fan Zhendong currently holds the number one position in men’s singles. In a personal statement on his fan forum on Sina Weibo, he mentioned how he hates extreme fan reactions. In 2012, he was the youngest member of the Chinese national table tennis team.
Guo Jingjing is a Chinese former diver best known for her performance at the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics where she won two gold medals at each event. She has also won two Olympic silver medals and is currently tied with Wu Minxia for winning the most number of Olympic medals for any female diver.
Wang Shixian is a Chinese former professional badminton player. A former World No. 1, Wang won three gold medals at Asian Games. She also won the Sudirman Cup on three occasions.
Chinese-born Canadian chess sensation Qiyu Zhou grew up in countries such as France and Finland and began learning chess at age 3. She won the Finnish U-10 championship at 5 and won the World Youth Chess Championship at 14. Known for her Twitch livestreams as akaNemsko, she is also Canada’s first woman grandmaster.
Wang Hao is a Chinese former table tennis player best known for his ability to perform the Reverse Penhold Backhand with exceptional skill. A former world number 1, Wang helped his team win the gold medal at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics. Wang Hao also has three Olympic silver medals under his belt.
Zhang Ning is a Chinese retired professional badminton player who won the gold medal at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, becoming the only female badminton player to win successive Olympic singles gold medals. A three-time winner at Asian Games, Zhang Ning has also represented China in international competitions like the Sudirman Cup and Uber Cup.
Table tennis player Xu Xin remains one of the rare penhold grip players in China. Currently ranked world number 3, he won a silver in the mixed doubles in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, along with partner Liu Shiwen. He teamed up with Shiwen again to win a National Games gold in 2021.
Cai Yun is a Chinese retired professional badminton player who specialized in the men's doubles event. A four-time World Championship winner, Cai also won silver and gold medal in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, respectively. Considered the greatest men's doubles player ever, Cai Yun also won six Sudirman Cups and five Thomas Cups during his illustrious playing career.
Zhang Yining is a Chinese retired table tennis player best known for winning four Olympic gold medals during her career. Regarded as one of the greatest female table tennis players of all time, Zhang won 10 World Championships and four World Cups. She is also one of the most celebrated and successful female players in the history of table tennis.
Xia Xuanze is a Chinese former professional badminton player best known for winning the bronze medal in men's singles at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. The 2003 World Championship winner, Xia also has two Thomas Cups and an Asia Championship title under his belt. After retiring as a player, Xia went on to become a coach for the national team.
Deng Linlin is a Chinese former gymnast best known for winning gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. The 2009 world champion in Balance Beam, Deng Linlin also won the 2009 National Games All-Around event as well as the 2010 Asian Games Team event.
Chinese former artistic gymnast and the owner of Chow’s Gym, Liang Chow has over 30 international gold medals in his kitty. He later moved to the US, where he focused on coaching. He is known for training Olympic gold medalists such as Gabby Douglas and Shawn Johnson.