Lee Lai-shan

Lee Lai-Shan MBE BBS (Chinese: 李麗珊) (born in Cheung Chau, Hong Kong, 5 September 1970) is a former world champion and Olympic gold medal-winning professional windsurfer from Hong Kong. She was the only athlete to win an Olympic medal representing British Hong Kong, before the territory's transfer to China in 1997, and remains the only person to win an Olympic gold medal for Hong Kong.

Lee Lai-shan
Medal record
Women's windsurfing
Representing  Hong Kong
Olympic Games
1996 Atlanta Board (Mistral)
Asian Games
1990 Beijing Board (Mistral)
1994 Hiroshima Board (Mistral)
World Championships
1993 Kashiwazaki Board (Mistral)
1996 Haifa Board (Mistral)
1995 Port Elizabeth Board (Mistral)
Representing  Hong Kong[note 1][1]
Asian Games
1998 Bangkok Board (Mistral)
2002 Busan Board (Mistral)
World Championships
1997 Fremantle Board (Mistral)
2001 Varkiza Board (Mistral)
1998 Brest Board (Mistral)
2000 Mar del Plata Board (Mistral)
Lee Lai-shan
Traditional Chinese李麗珊

Sports career

Lee Lai-Shan, popularly known as "San San", was born in Cheung Chau and started windsurfing aged 12. She began to take part in windsurfing competitions at the age of 17 and joined the Hong Kong team at 19. Over the years, Lee won many international competitions, including the first-ever, and only Olympic gold medal for Hong Kong, in the women's mistral boardsailing class, at the 1996 Summer Olympics and the first champion in the Asian Games representing Hong Kong when it was a British colony.[2]

Hong Kong had never been able to win any medals for as long as it had participated in the Olympic games since 1952 until Lee Lai-Shan's victory at Atlanta 1996. Notably, the 1996 Summer Olympics was the last international sporting event that Hong Kong participated in as a British Dependent Territories, making Lee's medal the first and last medal that the Hong Kong team (not Hong Kong, China) won.[3] It was at that time Lee famously declared to the media: "Hong Kong athletes are not rubbish!"[4]

After the Games she became a student of sports management at Australia's University of Canberra in 1996. She was the first Hong Kong athlete to be awarded an honorary Doctorate in social sciences by The Chinese University of Hong Kong.[2]

Lee became a recipient of the "Ten Outstanding Young Persons Award" and the Bronze Bauhinia Star Award in recognition of her outstanding achievements in the international sports scene. There is a monument resembling a windsurf board and mast erected in her honour near the beachfront at Cheung Chau.

In 2008, she was the first person to carry the Olympic torch in the torch relay leg in Hong Kong.[3] She was also the final torchbearer in the 2008 Summer Olympics sailing opening ceremony at Qingdao International Marina.

Participation record


  • 1994 – Named Best Athlete of Asia
  • 1995 –1996 & 1999–2000 – Named one of Hong Kong Sports Stars of the Year for four times
  • 1995 – Selected Best Athlete in Hong Kong for 1994
  • 1998 – Voted one of Hong Kong Top Ten Athletes for 1988–1998 by Hong Kong Sports Press Association
  • 1999 – Selected one of China's Top Ten Athletes for 1998
  • 1999 – Awarded Special Prize in the "Best Athletes of the Century" selection jointly organised by the Chinese Olympic Committee, Henry Fok Foundation and China Sports Press Association

Personal information

Lee married longtime partner Wong Tak-Sum (黃德森) (known in English as Sam Wong) , who has also represented Hong Kong internationally in windsurfing, and gave birth to a daughter, Haylie Wong (黃希皚), in August 2005, and to a second daughter in August 2007. This was one of the reasons she took a break from competition, though she has not ruled out competing altogether.[5] In 2008, she was involved in the Summer Olympics again when she was one of the presenting team for ATV, in addition to commentating in the sailing event.[5]

In 2006, Lee was featured in a Hang Seng Bank advertisement, in which she said the cost of raising a child in Hong Kong will be HK$4 million (US$510,000). It has caused a slight controversy in Hong Kong as most people do not think it will actually cost that much, and most think that Hang Seng Bank exaggerated the figures.

See also


  1. The official name of the team in ISAF is Hong Kong, and named Hong Kong, China during Asian Games and Summer Olympics.


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