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Olympic Women
Dear China Internet Information Center:

I and women throughout the world were glad to see that women were included as presenters in the Beijing Olympic Committee's outstanding final presentation July 13th before the International Olympics Committee (IOC) that helped secure the Games for Beijing. Can you tell me the names of the women who appeared and something about them? How were they qualified and selected? In any case, they should be recognized and congratulated for their excellent contributions.


Anne L. Grimes


Dear Anne:

Thank you for your letter.

The two women who helped present Beijing's bid before the International Olympics Committee were Deng Yaping and Yang Lan.

Deng Yaping, 28, one of the best players in world table tennis history, is the first woman to win the championship in all international-level women’s events, including the World Cup, World Championship and Olympic Games. A legend in China where table tennis is one of our most popular sports, Deng was known for her attacking style, nerves of steel and determination to succeed. At only 4’10” tall, she dominated an era in table tennis by winning every title in World Table Tennis and four Olympic Gold medals.

Born in Zhengzhou in central China’s Henan Province, Deng was a student at Tsinghua University in Beijing, and she also studied English at Cambridge University and Nottingham University in Britain.

Deng considers her two Olympic single titles as the highlights of her illustrious career.

Yang Lan, 33, who holds a master’s degree from Columbia University in the United States, is one of China's 50 most successful entrepreneurs and probably China's wealthiest self-made woman.

Yang Lan was 21 in her last year at the Beijing Foreign Studies University in 1990 when she auditioned for – and won -- the position of host of the Zheng Da variety show on China Central Television. Within a year Zheng Da, a prime-time-Saturday celebrity quiz and talk show, was China's top-rated TV program, with an audience of 220 million.

Despite her celebrity, Yang Lan quit the show after four years to go to New York where she spent two years earning a master's degree at Columbia University's School of International & Public Affairs.

Yang’s TV skills are matched by a keen mind for business. In 1999, with her husband, Bruno Wu Zheng, she started her own media company, Sun Television Cyber networks (Sun TV). Traded on the Hong Kong stock exchange since last April, Sun TV was valued at $179 million on Nov. 3. Yang owns 35%, worth $63 million.

Yang’s mother was an engineer, and her father taught English literature at Beijing Foreign Studies University and sometimes served as the official translator for former Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai.

Yang Lan was appointed one of the image ambassadors of Beijing in its 2008 bid in January, joining Deng Yaping and two other Chinese women to be so honored: Gong Li, the film actress, and Sang Lan, the gymnast who was paralyzed in 1998 as she represented China at the Goodwill Game in the United States.

Best wishes!

(China.org.cn July 20, 2001)

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