Competitive Sports

 Before 1949, China had participated in only three Olympic Games and failed to win a gold medal. But in more than 30 years after 1949, Chinese athletes won 30 world championships. From 1978 to 1999, Chinese athletes won 1,205 championships in the Olympic Games, World Championships and World Cups, and broke 800 world records.

Wu Shude won the first gold medal for China, in an international competition—in the World Weightlifting Championship held in Greece in 1979. In the same year, gymnast Ma Yanhong became the first Chinese world gymnastics champion. Li Ning won six gold medals in the Sixth Gymnastics World Cup Championships in 1982. The Chinese team won for the first time the team championship title after a heated contest between the Chinese and Soviet teams in the 22nd World Gymnastics Championships held in 1983. New gymnastic movements were developed constantly in China, some commemorating their inventors, such as the Yuejiu Somersault, Mo Somersault, Yang Po Jump, and Luo Li Eagle Swing. In 1981, all the seven titles were captured by Chinese table tennis players at the 36th World Table Tennis Championships, a record in the history of the sport. And in the same year, the Chinese women’s team carried off the title after beating the Japanese team in the 3rd


On Feb. 2000, the Chinese Women's Team won the champion on the 45th World Table Tennis Championship.

On July 11, 1999, the 3rd World Cup Women's Football was held in USA. The picture shows a scene in the march between the Chinese and American teams.

Women’s Volleyball World Cup Championships—another first. 

Shooter Xu Haifeng won China’s first Olympic gold medal, at the 23rd Olympic Games on July 28, 1984.

Chinese divers took three championships at the 2nd World Cup Diving Championships in 1981. Then Chinese divers carried off 10 championships from the 5th to 7th World Swimming Championships and won nine gold medals from the 23rd to 26th Olympic Games. The Chinese diving team has become one of the world’s leading diving teams since the Barcelona Olympic Games.

China became a formal member of the International Badminton Federation only in 1981. Since then, Chinese badminton teams have won the Thomas Cup four times, the Uber Cup six times and the Sudirman Trophy three times.

In 1988, Yang Wenyi broke the 50-meter freestyle world record. She was the first Chinese athlete recognized as breaking a record by the International Swimming Federation. The Chinese swimming team won five gold medals in the 25th and 26th Olympic Games and 12 gold medals in the 7th World Swimming Championships, held in 1994, coming first.

The Chinese team won 60 percent of the gold medals at the 11th Asian Games held in Beijing in 1990, revealing the fact that China had become a major sporting nation.

The world-famous Chinese athletes Wang Junxia , Qu Yunxia and four others broke the women’s 10,000-m, 3,000-m and 1,500-m records 11 times in 1993, a historic breakthrough in China’s track and field events.

In 1994, Chinese athletes captured 79 championships in 11 events. Twenty-six athletes set 40 world records on 72 occasions. Meanwhile, China’s professional soccer players made gains, starting in 1994, which aroused the enthusiasm of both players and the fans. The deepening of the structural reform in physical culture has involved not only soccer but other athletic events as well.

Great achievements were made by China in sports in 1998, when Chinese athletes captured 83 world championships in 15 events, including 28 world championships in 6 events in the Olympic Games. Thirty athletes set 31 world records on 68 occasions.

 Chinese athletes have won altogether 1,298 world championships since the founding of New China in 1949, and have created or broken 933 world records.

 In 1999, Chinese athletes won 92 championships in 18 events in world competitions, including table tennis, badminton, weightlifting, diving, gymnastics, shooting and short-track speed skating. Sixteen Chinese athletes broke 22 world records in weightlifting, shooting and fin swimming on 50 occasions.

 The year 1993 witnessed the most conspicuous achievements made by Chinese athletes, who won 103 world championships and broke world records in 124 events.

World Championships Won by Chinese Athletes

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Last updated: 2000-07-13.