1992 Olympic Gold medalist for China; two-time Asian Games Champion ('89, '90); 2000 U.S. Olympian.
As a child, Chen demonstrated remarkable athletic achievement, at 10 years old it was determined that she would concentrate her efforts on excelling as an athlete. It didn't take long for Chen's potential to reach fruition. By the age of 16, Chen won the gold medal at the Asian games in New Delhi, India. She continued her success on the world stage by finishing 5th in the World Cup in the same year.
In 1991, she repeated her gold medal performance in the Asian Games and continued to gain experience competing in the World University Games and the World Championships.
All of these achievements were just steps along the way. Many steps, Chen trained over 48,000 miles in preparation for the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona Spain. The 1992 Olympics held many firsts for Chen, China, and women race walkers. The 1992 Olympic Games were the first time women competed in the race walk. When Chen went on to win, she not only brought home the gold medal, but the first gold medal any Asian women had won in a Track and Field event at the Olympic Games.
Chen retired from competition, moved to the United States. However in 1998 the urge to compete rekindled in Chen. She came out of retirement and started to train to repeat her Olympic gold medal performance at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. Now a 20K, Chen was well on her way to repeating her performance when she recorded the fastest women's 20K track time in a race at the US Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA Sydney would be the first time the women would walk 20K in the Olympics and Chen was proving that she was equally masterful at the new distance.
Chen had another accomplishment in 2000, but this one was off the track. On April 12th, 2000 she became a US citizen. Chen went on to qualify for the US 2000 Olympic Team, but finished a disappointing 38th in the games. After the games, Chen stopped competing, but is rumored to be making another attempt in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
Chen has attended Brigham Young and Polomar to enhance her English speaking ability and to build a foundation for a business career. She has also taken formal training as a professional model. She is the only living Chinese athlete to be honored with a life-size statue in her hometown. Chen lends her time and support to numerous charities, foundations, and organizations, including serving as honorary spokesperson for the United States Kidney Foundation in support of organ donation. Chen's official website is www.yuelingchen.com.