Amy Chow bigraphy, stories - Gymnast

Amy Chow : biography

May 15, 1978 -

Amy Yuen Yee Chow (Chinese: 周婉儀; pinyin: Zhōu Wǎnyí; born May 15, 1978) is a retired American gymnast and a member of the famous Magnificent Seven, the first American team to win Olympic gymnastics gold. Chow was coached by Mark Young and was the first Asian American woman to take an Olympic medal in her sport.

Awards and recognition

Chow was inducted into the U.S. Gymnastics Hall of Fame twice; in 1998 in her capacity as a member of the 1996 U.S. gymnastics team, and again in 2005 in her individual capacity. In 2004, she was inducted into the San Jose, California Sports Hall of Fame.

In spring 2003, Chow was nominated a fellow by The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans, based on her achievements and personal merits. She was also a recipient of the Outstanding Overseas Chinese Award.

In 2008, Chow was inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame in the team category, alongside the rest of the Magnificent Seven. The team received their award in Chicago with other Olympic greats.

Early life

Chow was born to Nelson and Susan Chow, who had immigrated to the United States from Shanghai and Hong Kong respectively.

Chow began gymnastics training in 1981 at the age of 3. Her mother Susan wanted her daughter to be a ballerina and tried enrolling her in ballet schools, none of which would take a child that young. She then signed Amy up for classes at West Valley Gymnastics School in Campbell, California, where she joined an accelerated program at the age of 5, training under Mark Young and Diane Amos for her entire career. Her younger brother, Kevin, was also a gymnast.


Chow attended Stanford University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology in 2002. She went to Stanford Medical School and graduated in 2007.

Gymnastics career


At 11 years old, Chow became the first gymnast to reach Elite level in the school. She began competing in national and international competitions in 1990.


Her very first international competition as a part of the US gymnastics team was the 1994 World Championships at Dortmund, Germany. This proved to be a memorable experience as she overcame her nerves after a poor showing in preliminaries (she fell from the vault twice and thrice on a single balance beam routine) to perform admirably at the team finals, playing a great part in helping the team clinch a silver medal. The poor showing of the team at the preliminaries was also attributed to the sudden departure of Shannon Miller, the anchor of the team.

Another notable competition Chow took part in as part of the national team was the 1995 Pan American Games, where she was part of the gold-medal winning team and also clinched a gold in the Vault, silver in the Uneven Bars and bronze in the All-Around. Chow also made it to the team for the 1995 World Championships, but had to forgo that because of a sprained ankle sustained just days before the competition.


Chow is primarily known for her performance at the 1996 Olympics where she won a silver medal on her favorite event, the Uneven Bars, and a team gold. She nearly missed a spot in the team when she fell off the beam during the Olympic Trials, scraping her face on the side of the beam, but getting up to complete the routine despite the obvious pain. Although Chow only participated in the Uneven Bars and Vault events at the Olympic team finals, sitting out the Floor Exercise and Balance Beam, her performance took her to a career high. In the Bars event finals, she completed a very difficult routine with an almost flawless dismount, scoring a 9.837. She even edged out the more experienced Dawes to clinch an event final silver. Chow shared the medal with Bi Wen Jing of China, although the commentators felt Chow should not have had to share the medal with Bi as the latter made a glaring mistake that the judges did not take into account. Post '96, Chow and the rest of her Magnificent Seven teammates went on many tours and performed in numerous shows such as the John Hancock Tour.

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