5 Things to Know About Gymnast Cheng Fei

Cheng Fei
Cheng Fei (China) on balance beam. © Mark Dadswell / Getty Images

Cheng Fei was a superstar on the Chinese women's team. With five world gold medals, she led the Chinese to their ultimate goal in Beijing: a team gold.

She had her own Olympic misfortunes.

Though China took team gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Cheng had a very tough competition. She fell in the team competition on beam, but China was able to overcome her low score. Then in vault event finals, an event Cheng was expected to win, she hit her first vault only to crash her second. She still earned bronze, but her bad luck continued on floor. With a fall there on a simple front full, the 2006 floor world champion ended up out of the medals.

Finally, Cheng earned redemption on beam. The last event final of the Olympics, Cheng won bronze behind Americans Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin.

Cheng's vaulting dominance is unprecedented.

Cheng won three consecutive world titles on vault (2005-07). She performed two vaults, valued at a 6.5 D-score, the highest difficulty vault being performed by women at that time: the Amanar, and the Cheng, named after her (a round-off, half-on to front flip with 1 1/2 twists). Ten years later, these vaults are still being used to win world and Olympic titles.

Watch Cheng vault.

She was an incredible tumbler as well.

Besides her amazing vaulting ability, Cheng did some of the toughest tumbling in the world. She usually mounted floor with a tucked double-double and could also do a whip back to immediate triple full. At times, she ended her floor routine with a piked full-in -- a skill that many gymnasts mount with on floor. On balance beam, Cheng did a back handspring to a tucked full.

She was a true specialist.

Cheng didn't compete in the all-around in major international competitions. She specialized on the vault and floor, and later, the balance beam as well. Uneven bars was her weakest event, and by ignoring bars, she was able to excel on the other three events.

She began gymnastics as a toddler.

Cheng was born May 28, 1988 in Huangshi, Hubei Province. She began gymnastics at age three, and was named to the Chinese National Team in 2001 at age 13. She was coached by Lu Shanzhen and Liu Qun Lin.

Cheng's Gymnastics Results:


  • 2008 Olympic Games: 1st team; 3rd vault; 3rd beam
  • 2008 Tianjin World Cup: 1st vault; 1st beam; 1st floor
  • 2007 "Good Luck Beijing" International Invitational: 1st vault; 1st beam; 1st floor
  • 2007 World Championships: 2nd team; 1st vault
  • 2007 Shanghai World Cup: 1st vault; 1st beam
  • 2006 World Championships: 1st team; 1st vault; 1st floor
  • 2005 World Championships: 1st vault


  • 2008 Chinese National Championships: 1st vault; 1st floor
  • 2007 Chinese National Championships: 1st vault; 1st floor

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