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Donghua Li

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameDonghua•Li
Used nameDonghua•Li
Original name东华•李
Born10 November 1966 in Chengdu, Sichuan (CHN)
Measurements162 cm / 56 kg
AffiliationsBTV Luzern, Luzern (SUI)
NOC Switzerland


In 1988, Chinese gymnast Li Donghua was training for the Seoul Olympics. During a training session, he tumbled off the bars, and injured his neck. This meant he was out of the Chinese team, and no Olympics. Still, his year ended pretty well. He met a Swiss tourist in Beijing, Esperanza Friedli. They married that same year and Li moved to Switzerland in 1989. He filed for a Swiss passport, but this required him to live in Switzerland for five years. In the meantime, the Chinese wouldn’t let him compete for China. After numerous Swiss national titles, he could finally enter an international event in 1994. At that year’s World Championships, he finished third in his favorite event, the pommel horse. He improved the following year and won the world title in the same event at the Worlds in Sabae, Japan. At the Centennial Olympics in Atlanta, he finally made his Olympic debut. At age 29, he was considered “old” for a gymnast. Neveretheless, he won Switzerland’s first gymnastics medal since 1952.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1996 Summer Olympics Artistic Gymnastics (Gymnastics) SUI Donghua Li
Individual All-Around, Men (Olympic) =48 r1/2
Floor Exercise, Men (Olympic) 76 r1/1
Horse Vault, Men (Olympic) 83 r1/1
Parallel Bars, Men (Olympic) =68 r1/1
Horizontal Bar, Men (Olympic) 67 r1/1
Rings, Men (Olympic) 92 r1/1
Pommelled Horse, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold