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Chen Shih-hsin Taiwan's premier Olympic gold medalist


PHOTO: LIN CHENG-KUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Chen Shih-hsin is the first Taiwanese athlete to win a gold medal at the Olympics. She won the gold medal in the women's 49-kilogram category in taekwondo at the 2004 Summer Olympics on August 26.

She was born into a taekwondo family. Her father, Chen Wei-hsiung, ran a taekwondo training center in Shipai, near Beitou in Taipei, which meant that Chen learned to fight young.

Under her father's guidance Chen showed early potential. When she was 14, Chen trained for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and played a crucial role in helping teammate Chen Yi-an get a gold for what was then a demonstration sport.

At 15, Chen shocked the taekwondo world by coming first in her debut appearance at the Taekwondo World Cup in the Cayman Islands.

Chen captured a gold medal at the 1999 National Games and another gold medal at the 2001 East Asian Games, which was her first win at an international competition since her return to the sport. She firmly re-established herself as a champion ten days later when she grabbed her third World Cup gold in Vietnam. She states that practicing moves until they become natural helps build confidence.

The biggest reward for Chen was when she gained Taiwan's first Olympic gold at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Her family never gave up on her and she believes that it would have never been possible for her to get the gold without their love and support.

Chen was recognized as one of the Taiwanese Ten Outstanding Young Persons in 2001. Currently, she is an associate professor at University of Taipei.


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