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Chinese Beach Volleyball Superstar Xi Zhang: She Is Famous Because of Playing With Partner Xue Chen

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

Xi Zhang's career goes back almost two decades

When it comes to beach volleyball, most of us will probably remember names such as Kerri Walsh or Misty May-Treanor. While those two athletes have really excelled in beach volleyball for the United States, China is also a successful country in this sport. Xi Zhang or Zhang Xi as she is known in China is another one of these beach volleyball superstar players. Zhang’s career actually goes as far back as 1996 when she played with the Tong Zhong women’s volleyball squad. But who is Xi Zhang?

Xi Zhang celebrates after a point won in a match against Greece in 2011


Xi Zhang Profile and Basic Statistics

  • Date of birth is April 19, 1985 (age 34)
  • She was born in Jiangsu, China.
  • She is listed at 183 centimeters tall.
  • Her weight is listed as 64 kilograms.
  • She speaks both English and Chinese.
  • She is studying Law at Nanjing University.
  • She enjoys reading and playing video games on the Nintendo Wii.

Xi Zhang's early career and rise to prominence

Xi Zhang’s career has been marked by remarkable consistency. In 2002 and 2003, Zhang played in every single match. It would be in 2004 that Zhang Xi would begin to play full-time as part of the SWATCH FIVB World Tour. In 2006, she was paired up with sexy beach volleyball star Xue Chen as she started the SWATCH Tournament season. In 2006, Chen and Zhang would win the gold medal during the women’s team competition event in Doha, Qatar. This was during the 2006 Asian Games. When the tournament was finished, she started to study at the Physical Education Unit of Jiangsu Province. In her career, Zhang Xi has also played with Hu Xioyan, Ji Linjun, Tian Jia, and Pan Wang. In 2008, Zhang Xi won an award for FIVB Most Outstanding Player of the Year. Her success would continue because in 2011, she would win an award for FIVB Most Outstanding Player.

More success for Xi Zhang (Zhang Xi 2010-2012)

Zhang Xi would only get better as a player. In 2010, she and Xue Chen would win another gold medal in Aland, Finland in August 2010 when they played in the FIVB World Tour Women’s Final. Together, Xue Chen and Zhang Xi would finish the year in 4th place in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Rankings. Chen and Zhang Xi are not the only volleyball players to participate in a volleyball tournament during the summer in Northern Europe. In 2007, Shinako Tanaka, Eiko Koizumi and Miwa Asao all played in Stavanger, Norway during the summer of 2007. In 2011 at the World Championships in Rome, Italy, the duo would get the bronze medal. Xue Chen and Zhang Xi would finish in 4th place at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. They would end up losing to Brazil in the bronze medal match. They would also finish in 4th place at that year’s Asian Championships. However, 2012 would prove to be another solid year for Zhang Xi and Xue Chen as they would win three gold medals, one silver medal, and one bronze medal.

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Zhang Xi celebrates after winning a point


Xi Zhang gets chosen as an athlete role model

Zhang Xi was chosen as an athlete role model (ARM) for the second edition of the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China in 2014. She was chosen by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). She was much honored to be chosen to represent China in such a positive way. Zhang Xi said that for her to be an athlete and play beach volleyball, it gives her “life long influence.” She said that she would take this chance to share the passion of this sport with everyone especially the young athletes. She is grateful to have been involved with contributing to their health. The goal of Zhang Xi and other athlete role models was to be as accessible as possible so that they could share their own experiences so that these young people can be at their best both on and off the field. There were a series of educational activities and workshops that focused on skills development, healthy living, social responsibility, and Olympic values. Zhang Xi may not be as popular or as beautiful as Xue Chen but she is still a volleyball superstar that has a good command of the English language and she is still really beautiful!

How does Xi Zhang Train and Prepare?

Zhang’s training regimen and preparation is very extensive. Zhang, Xue Chen and other Chinese volleyball players have spent several weeks training in Los Angeles every spring. They have done this since 2005. They have spent time training against players such as Jen Kessy and April Ross. Zhang has said that after she is done playing volleyball, she would like to be a teacher or a coach. But she has said that she would still like the chance to travel because she doesn’t stay in one place all the time.

Xue Chen and Xi Zhang talk about reaching the semifinals in Rome in 2011

© 2016 Ara Vahanian

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