5 Things to Know About Olympic Champion Gymnast Yang Wei

Yang Wei
Yang Wei (China) on the parallel bars. © Stephen Dunn / Getty Images

Chinese gymnast Yang Wei was one of the greatest athletes in the sport. The world all-around champion in 2006 and 2007, Yang took all-around gold at the 2008 Olympics as well. He also won the all-around silver medal at the 2000 Olympics and 2003 worlds, proving he was one of the best in the world for nearly a decade. Yang has now retired from gymnastics.

Yang had huge difficulty.

Yang was known for his very high difficulty (D-score).

At the 2007 worlds, Yang's D-score was 1.2 points higher than any other athlete at the competition, meaning he could fall (an .8 deduction at the time) and still win. He did fall -- and yes, he still won the all-around.

And some very cool tricks.

Not surprisingly, with a high difficulty total comes some very tough moves. Yang performed a giant to double pike on parallel bars, a double-twisting double layout off rings, and competed a double-twisting double layout on floor as well.

Yang and American Paul Hamm were epic rivals.

Much has been discussed about the rivalry between Yang Wei and US gymnast Paul Hamm. Hamm bested Yang at the 2003 worlds and 2004 Olympics, but then retired for several years while Yang continued to compete -- and won two world all-around golds. While Yang had the higher difficulty score, Hamm was stronger on the execution (E) score.

Unfortunately, the two never went head-to-head after 2004, because Hamm was forced to withdraw from the Beijing Games with a hand injury.

He is married to an Olympic gymnast.

Yang was born February 8, 1980 in Hubei, China. He started gymnastics at age five, and first competed internationally for China in 1997. He was coached by Yubin Huang and Wang Guo Qin at the Chinese National Training Center.

Yang Wei married 2000 Olympic gymnast Yang Yun on November 6, 2008.

The couple had a son, Their son, Yang Wenchang in November 2009

Yang is 5 ft. 2 in. tall, and weighs 121 lbs.

His results speak for themselves.


  • 2008 Olympic Games: 1st team; 1st all-around; 2nd rings
  • 2007 World Championships: 1st team; 1st all-around
  • 2006 World Championships: 1st team; 1st all-around; 1st parallel bars
  • 2003 World Championships: 1st team; 2nd all-around
  • 2002 World Championships: 3rd vault
  • 2000 Olympics: 1st team; 2nd all-around
  • 1999 World Championships: 1st team; 3rd high bar


  • 2008 Chinese National Championships: 1st all-around; 1st rings; 3rd parallel bars
  • 2007 Chinese National Championships: 1st all-around; 1st rings; 2nd parallel bars
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Deusen, Amy Van. "5 Things to Know About Olympic Champion Gymnast Yang Wei." ThoughtCo, Oct. 30, 2015, thoughtco.com/gymnast-yang-wei-1714677. Deusen, Amy Van. (2015, October 30). 5 Things to Know About Olympic Champion Gymnast Yang Wei. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/gymnast-yang-wei-1714677 Deusen, Amy Van. "5 Things to Know About Olympic Champion Gymnast Yang Wei." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/gymnast-yang-wei-1714677 (accessed December 12, 2017).