Olympic Stories

Zhou Chunxiu

Zhou Chunxiu

Zhou Chunxiu was born on 15th November 1978 in Jiangsu, China. She is a Chinese long distance marathon runner. She is the daughter of Zhou Fuyuan and Jiang Yunying, who are peasant farmers from one of the poorest areas of their home country, China, called Henan, so their daughter’s success and talent is something that they are naturally extremely proud of.

Chunxiu’s parents live in a simple house with the only toilet and water tap outside. They are farmers of chickens and sheep. Not far from their village they also have 0.33 acres of land where they grow vegetables.

Her first major appearance was in 2003 at the Xiamen International Marathon where she impressively finished in 1st place with a time of 2:34 hours. The same year she came 2nd in the Beijing Marathon, finishing in 2:23:41. She returned to the Xiamen International Marathon again the following year where she managed to defend her 1st place title and significantly improved her time to 2:23:28.

In 2004 she participated in the Athens Olympics, but finished in 33rd place, which of course was not one of her better achievements. That same years she also ran the Beijing Marathon once more, and once again came 2nd with a slightly slower time than the previous year of 2:28:42.

She came in at 4th place in the Helsinki marathon at the 2005 World Championships finishing in 2:24:12, but also that year she came 1st in the Seoul International Marathon in South Korea, with a brilliant time of 2:23:24. She then ran at the Xiamen International Marathon in China where she also came 1st. Her finale for 2005 was the Beijing Marathon. For the third time in her career she came 2nd but did manage to run her best time for Beijing of 2:21:11.

Zhou Chunxiu  had a fantastic year in 2006 when she won the marathon gold medal at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar. She also ran her personal best that year at the Seoul International Marathon, finishing in 2:19:51 and coming in 1st place. At the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan, she came 2nd winning the silver medal. She came in 1st place at her first ever run of the London Marathon and completed the course in 2:20:38.

Then Zhou Chunxiu went on to win the bronze medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing for the marathon race, finishing just a second behind the runner up, with another notable time of 2:27:07. This was her only major race for that year. She finished 4th the next year at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, Germany finishing in 2:25:39.

In 2010, Zhou took second place at the Seoul International Marathon, finishing behind Amane Gobena with a time of 2:25:01. Chunxiu’s personal best time for the marathon distance is 2:19:51 hours as mentioned earlier, which she achieved in March 2006 after winning at the Seoul International Marathon. The performance made her only the 7th female runner in history to break the 2:20 hours barrier.

Career Highlights

  • 2008 Beijing Olympics – Bronze
  • 2007 IAAF World Championships in Athletics – Silver
  • 2006 Asian Games – Gold


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