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125: Growing Up In China – Jiani Wu Interview

jiani wu at the 1984 olympics and as a child in china
Jiani Wu


This Week's Interview

What was it like growing up in China before they were a gymnastics super power? Jiani tells us all about it. A native of Shanghai back when China was a closed society, Jiani was one of the first allowed to compete outside of the country. Wu helped the Chinese women win their first World Championships team medal, a silver at the 1981 Worlds in Moscow and a bronze for the team at the 1984 Olympics. We discuss:

  • Adjusting to coaching in the United States and working with parents.
  • The Yurchenko loop and Teza skills that she was doing back in the 70’s.
  • Her coaching philosophy and how it ties into her experience as an accidental champion.
  • Secret romances and how she met her husband in the training halls of the national training center.
  • The training schedule and beam complex seriousness of the Chinese training regime.
  • Gymnastics urban legend busting about China’s conditioning, pizza and hamburgers.
  • What China was like in the 1970’s before their athletes were allowed to compete outside of the country.
  • Coaching both of her daughters, 2012 Olympic alternate Anna Li and level 9 Andrea Li.
  • That time she Yin Alvarez’d when Gabby Perea hit her bar routine.
  • The major award China gave her for winning an Olympic medal.


Guest Links

Legacy Elite Gymnastics

flyer with Nastia Liukin for Legacy Elite Winter Classic meet registration

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Jiani Wu performing the Yurchenko Loop
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Jiani Wu
Jiani Wu eponymous skill
Jiani Wu performing her eponymous skill on bars.

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9 years ago

I just wanted to say that I love this type of interview and find it so very interesting! Thanks for all the hard work you do for each and every podcast. Keep up the good work!

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