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July 26, 2011
Chinese Olympic champion Li Ning donates USD 1 million to Olympic Museum

1984 Olympic Games champion, now entrepreneur Li Ning soars to the top of the Bird's Nest to light the cauldron at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Photo by Vladimir Rys/Bongarts/Getty Images
by Roslyn Morris, AIPS Secretary General

LAUSANNE, July 26, 2011 – The man who flew to the top of the Bird’s Nest to light the cauldron at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games has become the latest Olympic Movement benefactor.

Six-time Olympic gymnastics medalist-turned sporting goods entrepreneur, China’s Li Ning today donated USD 1 million to the Olympic Museum in Lausanne.

Li, who won three gold, two silver and a bronze medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics was joined by Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell, American triple jumper Christian Taylor, and Chinese 4-time Olympic Table tennis gold medalist Zhang Yi Ning, all part of the Li Ning stable.

Li said he was delighted that his company was the first Chinese sports company to donate to the museum.

“As a former athlete and Olympic champion I have always felt strongly about the Olympic Games. The Olympic Museum is a good way to learn about this spirit and draw inspiration from it. The Lausanne Olympic Museum has managed to collect and introduce almost every inspiring moment in the long Olympic story, and I believe anyone who has the opportunity to visit it will be profoundly touched and encouraged just as I was," Li said, speaking through an interpreter.

"Tomorrow is the beginning of the one-year-countdown of London Olympic Games, which makes this donation especially meaningful. I recall the same moment in 2007 in Beijing when the whole of China was excited in anticipation. From Bejing to London with this one-year-countdown, as the man who lit the Beijing Olympic Torch, and on behalf of the Li Ning company, I would like to express our sincere and best wishes for the success of London 2012".

IOC President Dr Jacques Rogge thanked Li for his "great gesture to the Olympic Museum".

“He is an iconic Olympic champion of the 1984 Games when China came back to the Olympic movement,” Dr Rogge said.

“Everyone will remember him for lighting the torch in Beijing. He is an entrepreneur and a great philanthropist – a great example of a champion giving back to sport what sport has given to him. I am very proud he will join the list of prestigious companies who will join the IOC”.

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