Olympian artist
Gao Min (CHN)

© Gao Min

Highly decorated Olympic diver and International Swimming Hall of Fame member Gao Min learned how to swim at the age of four. At nine, she was spotted by a diving coach who persuaded her to switch to diving. One of the most successful divers in the history of the sport, Gao was the gold medallist in the 3m springboard event at Seoul 1988 and Barcelona 1992.

© IOC/TORRES, Bruno


After retiring from competition, Gao coached in Edmonton, Canada, for many years, helping to produce many national team divers in Canada. She returned to China in 2005 and has been involved with humanitarian work. Gao is the founder and President of the Star Power Charity Foundation in Beijing. Gao is also the first ambassador of Compact2025, a partnership that develops and disseminates evidence-based advice to politicians and other decision-makers aimed at ending hunger and undernutrition in the coming 10 years.

© IOC/TORRES, Bruno

Artworks

Sports as the Best of Humankind
Sports as the Best of Humankind
Sports as the Best of Humankind
The Chinese calligraphy in this artwork is inspired by the messages from the "Ode to Sport" by Pierre de Coubertin, the father of the modern Olympic Games: “Sport, pleasure of the Gods, essence of life. You are Beauty, Justice, Audacity, Honour, Joy, Progress and Peace. Sport, you are Fecundity, a fertile ground for cultivating human beings!”
2021 - Gao Min
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Happy Fish for a Shared Future
Happy Fish for a Shared Future
Happy Fish for a Shared Future
As a diver, I have often been described as someone who “dives like a fish”. Five fish represent athletes from five continents who participate in both the Olympic Summer and Winter Games. Water and ice are linked, as ice is water in the summer, while water is ice in the winter. Meanwhile, the painting also signals the nexus of the Summer and Winter Olympics, as Beijing is the only city in the world to host both the Summer and Winter Games. This painting expresses my happiness that the Winter Olympics are coming to Beijing. The Chinese characters in the painting mean: “Happy fish swimming in the water across five colourful continents”.
2021 - Gao Min
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The Olympic Colour Sense with Chinese Oldest Script
The Olympic Colour Sense with Chinese Oldest Script
The Olympic Colour Sense with Chinese Oldest Script
The artwork has five elements consisting of five separate fluid propylene paintings with Chinese traditional characters. The colours of the five rings of the Olympic logo inspire the colour palette: black stands for Justice, blue for Beauty, yellow for Harmony, red for Auspiciousness and green for Sustainability. Chinese traditional characters represented in the Chinese calligraphy and the colours of the five Olympic rings are combined to convey the spirit and value of the Beijing Olympic Winter Games. 
2021 - Gao Min
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Q&A with the artist

  • Q. To you personally, what does being an Olympian mean – how does it define your approach to life and how you view yourself and the world?
    • A. The Olympic Games are a great gathering of young people from all over the world, a stadium to challenge human physical limits, and a stage to show the beauty of human nature. When I was 14 years old, I learned about the Olympic Games for the first time through television, and participating in the Games became my dream. I stood on top of the Olympic podium at the age of 18 and defended my title four years later, which is the greatest pride of my life. After retirement, no matter what difficulties I encounter, I can overcome them just by recalling the efforts I had made to realise the dream of being Olympic champion. The Olympic experience gives me courage, strength, confidence and honour to confront challenges in my life.

  • Q. What do the Olympic values mean to you?
    • A. Olympism is an international social movement aiming at promoting the development of human physiology, psychology and social morality; connecting people of all nations and boosting mutual understanding; spreading Olympism all over the world and contributing to world peace.

  • Q. How do you explain to people that the Olympic Games are more than the sporting competition?
    • A. Sport is beauty, justice, courage, honour, fun, progress and peace. It is a fertile ground for cultivating human beings.

  • Q. If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
    • A. Feel and enjoy the making of a champion, including the endeavours made, the pain of failure and the joy of success.

  • Q. Are there parallels in your approach to your art and your approach to your sport? Or do you find that the two dimensions bring/brought out totally different facets of your personality?
    • A. I think diving itself is art, an art in the air, an art of the body challenging its limits. Today I write and paint, which is also art, an art of using actions to reflect my thinking.

  • Q. Please feel free to add any other statement you would like to make, about yourself or your passions.
    • A. In 2018, I convened more than 130 Olympic champions to establish Star Power Charity Foundation together in Beijing. We go to schools across the country to spread the core concept of the foundation: "Be your own champion". We tell teenagers that champions grow from failure and we recount how we tried and failed countless times before we became champions. I hope teenagers will like sports and physical education, because the real sport spirit comes from failure, which takes more courage than to win. Being our own champion should be our ultimate pursuit. And sports cultivate our attitude towards failure and give us the courage to do it again.

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Olympic Agora Beijing 2022

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