7 Olympic Athletes Who Incorporate Acupuncture into their Training

by Jennifer Dubowsky, DIPL.Ac. |

7 Olympic Athletes Who Incorporate Acupuncture into their Training

The Beijing Olympics are underway and with all Olympic Games, I enjoy the opportunity to brag about Chinese Medicine because many of the world’s top athletes are turning to acupuncture and other treatments to keep them in gold medal winning form.  Here are the stories of seven Olympians and their use of Traditional Chinese Medicine in their pursuit of gold.

Chinese Freeski Big Air Gold Medalist Ailing (Eileen) Gu: Beijing 2022

Ailing (Eileen) Gu recently won the gold medal in the first-ever Olympic big air freestyle skiing competition, becoming the country's first female Olympic gold medalist on snow. Zhu Jiangwei, a physician at the Sichuan Province Orthopedic Hospital, treated Gu and other Olympic-bound athletes. In a recent interview, he says: "For Gu's injuries, I used TCM methods such as acupuncture, massaging, and bone setting."

Canadian Slopestyle'r Mark McMorris: Sochi 2014

In the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, Canada’s bronze medal winner used acupuncture to help him come back after a recent injury. Mark McMorris, who won the bronze medal in slopestyle at the Sochi games, was originally one of those favored to win. 

A few weeks before the Olympics, he broke a rib at the X Games and was having severe pain during practices. “A fixed routine of acupuncture, swimming, exercises and massages pushed him to a point where only the tough landings hurt.”


Chinese Swimmer Wang Qun: Beijing 2008

Wang Qun is a Chinese swimmer who used cupping to prepare for her race at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. You can check out a photo of her cupping marks here.

US High Jumper Amy Acuff: London 2012

Amy Acuff is an Olympic high jumper and the London Olympics was her fifth time on the USA Olympic team. What sounds exciting to me (at least) is that she practices as licensed acupuncturist in Austin, Texas. Go Amy! Working as an acupuncturist holds many personal benefits for Amy. High jumpers are more prone to injuries and she acknowledges some of her achievements in the sport are due to acupuncture as it helped to prevent injury and fastened recovery.

Bronze Medal Runner Dee Dee Trotter: London 2021

Olympic bronze medal winner Dee Dee Trotter is a huge advocate for acupuncture. Her hometown acupuncturist accompanied her to London when she competed in the 2012 games where she won the bronze medal for the 400 meter run.

Chinese Windsurger Yin Jian: Beijing 2008 

Windsurfer Yin Jian won China’s first Olympic sailing gold medal in 2008. She said it was the ultimate reward for years of battling constant injuries and spending long periods training away from home, reported Reuters. Yin reeled off a list of the parts of her body that had been affected by injury. “My waist, shoulder, legs and feet,” said Yin, adding she had spent every night after racing at the Games on the treatment table undergoing acupuncture and massage for muscle strains.


 Australian Swimmer Daniel Kowalski: Sydney 2000

Daniel Kowalski, who holds Olympic Gold, Silver and Bronze medal in swimming, in this video discusses about how acupuncture helped him in maintaining his health while he was practicing for the Olympics and after. He states that acupuncture helped him recover from shoulder injuries, improved his sleep, fended off colds and flu, while enhancing his general well being.

This article was originally published in Jennifer's blog and has been republished here with her permission.

Purchase her book: Adventures in Chinese Medicine: Acupuncture, Herbs and Ancient Ideas for Today.

Jennifer Dubowsky is a licensed acupuncturist with a practice in downtown Chicago, Illinois, since 2002. Jennifer also maintains a popular blog about health and Chinese Medicine and In 2013, Jennifer released her first book, Adventures in Chinese Medicine: Acupuncture, Herbs and Ancient Ideas for Today.

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