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Athletes > Luan Jujie > Bio

Born: July 14, 1958
Nanjing, China
Hometown: Edmonton, Canada
Residence: Edmonton, Canada
Ht: / Wt: 5'7" / 132 lbs
Olympics: 2000, 1988, 1984
Event(s): Individual
Position: Foil
Luan Jujie became an Olympic champion at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.
AFP/Getty Images
Luan Jujie became an Olympic champion at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

Homecoming welcome
A native of Nanjing, China, Jujie Luan will return to her home country, representing her adopted country, Canada, at the 2008 Beijing Games. The mother of three, will be 50 years old when she competes at her fourth Olympics in the individual foil competition. Although troubled regularly by tendonitis in her elbow, she utilizes patience and technique honed over 30 years to her advantage against her younger opponents. The nation she left almost 20 years ago promises to embrace her and, win or lose, she promises to thank it back.

Heroine's story
Luan began fencing at the Nanjing Spare-time Sports School at the relatively-late age of 17. She quickly rose to national prominence, however, relying on strong athleticism gained in track and badminton. At 20, Luan became the first Chinese fencer since 1901 to compete at the World Junior Championships, and overcame a horrific experience to capture the silver medal. In her very first match, the tip of her opponent's foil broke off and inserted itself into Luan's left arm (her fencing arm), just below the bicep. Luan was forced to continue immediately after officials removed the metal fragment. Following her recovery and subsequent runner-up finish, she became a hero in China. This story has been recounted in numerous textbooks and chronicled on film. Of course, scars remain as a daily memory for Luan herself.

California dream
Luan's first taste of Olympic competition came at the age of 26 at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles. She began by winning 17 of 19 bouts in the preliminary round, then continued to roll all the way to the final, where she defeated West Germany's Cornelia Hanisch, 8-3, to win the gold medal. Luan earned China its first-ever Olympic fencing medal, a feat that is appreciated in her Asian homeland even today. In 1999, she was named one of the top 50 Chinese athletes in the 50 years since the Revolution. Her image is impressed on a Chinese postage stamp issued in 2006.

Trans-Pacific flight
She returned to the Olympic Games four years later in Seoul. After a 16th place finish, she retired from competitive fencing. In 1989, Jujie and her husband Gu Dajin moved to Edmonton, Canada, where she began a career in coaching. Luan did not compete internationally for almost the entire decade of the 1990's. As the 2000 Sydney Games approached, however, she decided to enter World Cup events in pursuit of a spot on the Canadian Olympic team. She succeeded, but her Sydney experience was brief, as she fell to Korean fencer Seo Mi-Jung, 15-8, in the first round.



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