Yang Yang currently serves on the International Olympic Committee and is the first female member of the International Skating Union Council. She was appointed executive director of the Chinese National Olympic Committee in 2006 and vice-chair of the Chinese Youth Federation in 2010. In 2014, she became chair of the I.O.C. Evaluation Commission for the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games. She is also global ambassador for Special Olympics.
Prior to her distinguished career in sports administration, Yang became China’s first Winter Olympic champion when she won a gold medal in the women’s 500-meter short-track speed-skating event at the Salt Lake City Winter Games in 2002. She also won gold in 1,000 meters and a silver medal in the 3,000-meter relay. She is one of the most decorated skaters in history, having won 32 international titles in seven years and becoming the first speed skater to win six overall (and consecutive) short-track world championships, from 1997 to 2002. After the 2003 World Championships, Yang Yang took time off from competition, but made a comeback in the 2004–5 season in the lead-up to the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy, where she won the bronze medal in the 1,000-meter event.