Born Jan. 7, 1996 in Zhejieng, China Fu Yuanhui is an internationally-ranked backstroke specialist and Olympian. Fu began swimming at the age 5 at the request of her father who thought that swimming could improve her asthma. She’s gained recognition within a short period of time considering that she first made headlines in 2011. Fu won two medals at the 2011 World Junior Championships — a gold in the 100-meter backstroke and a bronze in the 200-meter freestyle.
2012 London Olympics
In 2012, after her breakout performance at the 2011 World Juniors, Fu made China’s Olympic Team in the 100-meter backstroke. At just 16 years old Fu advanced to the championship final of the London Olympics, and went on to finish 8th overall.
2013 World Championships
A year after making her Olympic debut, Fu travelled to Barcelona to swim at the 2011 World Championships. She had a fairly dominant first World Championships at the senior level — Fu finished second in the 50-meter backstroke, fourth as a member of the 4×100-meter medley relay and she also picked up a 5th-place finish in the 100-meter back, posting a sub-1:00 time.
2015 World Championships
Just a few years after taking three gold medals at the East Asian Games, Fu entered the World Championships in Kazan with bounds of confidence. She took home the gold medal in the 50-meter backstroke, followed by fellow Chinese teammate, Lix Xiang, who took bronze. Fu touched in 27.11, which was just .05 seconds off of a World Record; however Fu’s time was a new textile best. Her win sparked a dominant night on the Chinese team, which surged the country to second in total medal contention. She swam the backstroke leadoff leg for the 4×100-meter medley relay team that also won gold.
2016 Rio Olympics
Fu swam a 58.76 in the 100m Backstroke to finish tied for third place with Canadian Kylie Masse. Fu went viral during the Rio games for her post-race interview in which she didn’t realize she had tied for a bronze, thinking she had touched in 4th place.
2017 FINA World Championships
Day five of the competition Yuanhui won silver in the women’s 50m backstroke final. Her 27.15 was merely .01 behind Brazil’s Etiene Medeiros 27.14 win.
2018 Asian Games
In Jakarta, Yuanhui won yet another international medal in the 50 back, this time a silver (27.68). Her teammate, Liu Xiang, broke the world record right next to her, making it a 1-2 China sweep. Yuanhui swam on the prelims of the 4×100 medley relay, but in finals the relay was disqualified.
2018 Short Course World Championships
At her home games in Hangzhou, Yuanhui led off both of China’s medley relays (4×50 and 4×100), helping her home country to silver in both and setting an Asian record in the 4×50.