Top 6 Best Women's Short Track Skaters Of All Time

Women’s short track skating is one of the most thrilling winter sports to watch. It has seen no shortage of extraordinarily talented women grace the rink in hopes of sprinting to the finish, from athletes like Chun Lee-Kyung to indomitable power sprinters like Wang Meng.  


Who are the best women’s short track athletes of all time?

  1. Wang Meng
  2. Yang Yang (A)
  3. Chun Lee-Kyung
  4. Park Seung-hi
  5. Arianna Fontana
  6. Zhou Yang

1. Wang Meng

Wang Meng wins 500 m race

  • Six-time Olympic medalist (4 gold and 2 silver) 
  • Holds the record for Olympic medals among any Chinese athlete in the Winter Olympics 
  • 18-time gold medalist at the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships 
  • Won the 2008, 2009, and 2013 Overall World Championships in women’s short track skating
  • Won Olympic gold twice in the 500-meter sprint, once in the 1000-meter race, and once in the 3000-meter relay

Wang Meng is considered China’s greatest Winter Olympian to date and the most accomplished women’s short track skater of all time. Her debut at the 2003 Short Track Championship won her an unforgettable gold and kicked off an astonishingly successful career in the 2000s. Known for her spiritedness and lightning-quick sprint, Wang won a record four gold medals and six medals overall for short track skating in the 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympics. She has also won 18 gold medals in the Women’s Short Track Skating Championship throughout her career. She was favored to add to her collection of gold medals in the 2014 Olympics until an unfortunate fractured ankle cut her career short. She also served as a coach for the Chinese speed skating team for the 2022 Beijing Olympics.  

2. Yang Yang (A)

Yang Yang wins China's first gold in the Winter Olympics

  • Five-time Olympic medalist (two gold, two silver, and one bronze) 
  • Became China’s first-ever Winter Olympic gold medalist at 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics
  • Six-time Overall World Championship titles (consecutive from 1997-2002)

Yang Yang (A), so noted to distinguish her from a teammate with the same name, is a renowned former short track skater who set records for both her country and the sport in the early 2000s. In 2002, Yang became the first athlete to win gold for China in the Winter Olympics, earning the title in the 500-meter race. She would go on to win another gold for China in the 1000 meter race and become a revered figure for her country. Incredibly, Yang won six consecutive Overall Women’s World Championship titles from 1997 to 2002, becoming the first person ever to hold that many back-to-back victories for the title. She retired in 2006 and went on to found her own skating rink in Shanghai.

3. Chun Lee-Kyung

Chun Lee-kyung

  • Five-time Olympic medalist (four gold and one bronze)
  • Nine-time Overall World Championship gold medalist
  • Won the Overall Women’s World Championship in short track skating three years in a row
  • 1997-98 Overall World Cup gold medalist
  • Broke the record for the 3000-meter time at the 1998 Winter Olympics
  • Third most successful South Korean Olympic athlete of all time

Chun Lee-Kyung is a former South Korean short track skater known for her indomitable reign in the 1990s. She won the Overall World Championship in women’s short an impressive nine times, including three consecutive years from 1995 to 1997. Lee-Kyung also claimed the Overall World Cup title in 1997-1998. She won two gold medals in the 1994 Olympics and successfully defended her titles in the subsequent 1998 Olympics by earning four gold medals and breaking the world record in the 3000-meter relay. Since her retirement in 1998, Chun has served as a national coach for short track skating in Singapore. 

4. Park Seung-hi

Park Seung-hi wins gold at 2014 Olympics

  • Five-time Olympic medalist (two gold and three bronze)  
  • Women’s Overall Short Track Speed Racing Championship gold medalist in 2010
  • Only Korean athlete to have participated in both short track and long track speed skating in the Olympics 

Park Seung-hee is a decorated Olympic speed skater and a beloved athlete of South Korea. She won the Women’s Overall Short Track Speed Racing Championship in 2010, as well as two gold medals in the 2014 Olympics. In the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Park challenged herself by switching to long track racing, the only Korean athlete to have done so. Though she did not win a medal in the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, she remained an honored and beloved athlete of South Korea until her retirement. Park was chosen to serve as a color commentator for South Korea’s broadcast of the 2022 Beijing Olympics.  

5. Arianna Fontana

Ariana Fontana

  • Eight-time Olympic medalist (one gold, two silver, and five bronze) 
  • Fourteen-time World Short Track Speed Skating Championship medalist (one gold, six silver, and nine bronze)
  • Became the youngest Italian Olympic medalist at 15 years old
  • Has won the most Olympic medals of any woman in short track skating, as well as the second most Winter Olympics medals ever for Italy as of 2018

Nicknamed L’Angelo Biondo (the Blond Angel), Ariana Fontana is the most accomplished short track skater in Italian history. She became the youngest Italian medalist ever during the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, winning bronze in the 3000-meter race at only 15. She has also won a record-breaking eight Olympic medals as of the 2018 Winter Olympics, including a gold in her specialty, the 500-meter sprint. Biondo’s success extends past the Olympics, as she’s also secured 14 medals in the World Short Track Speed Skating Championship over her 11-year career. She is set to be a favorite in the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

6. Zhou Yang

Zhou Yang

  • Three-time Olympic gold medalist (2010 and 2014) 
  • South Korean National flag bearer at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics
  • Four-time World Championships gold medalist from 2008 to 2013 

Zhou Yang is a decorated Chinese short track skater who is known especially well for her tact in the 1500 meter sprint. Yang has won Olympic gold twice for the 1500 meter sprint, first in Vancouver in 2010 and then in Sochi in 2014. She also won gold in the 3000-meter relay in a team that included notable teammate Wang Meng. Yang has also won four World Championships, making her an exceptionally decorated short track skater. She was granted the honor of being South Korea’s national flag bearer for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.  

FAQ

Who is the greatest women’s short track skater of all time?

While many talented athletes have graced the rink, Wang Meng is widely regarded as the greatest women’s short track skater of all time. She is indisputably the most decorated, with 14 Women’s World Championship titles under her belt as well as six Winter Olympic medals, including four gold.

What women’s short track skater has won the most World Short Track Speed Skating Championship titles?

Wang Meng has won the most World Championships in women’s short track skating. She has won a stunning 18 championships in her career, from her 2003 debut all the way to 2013.

Who is the youngest female short track skater to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics?

Kim Yun-Mi of South Korea was the youngest short track skater and youngest female athlete overall to ever win a gold medal at either the Winter or Summer Olympics. At just 13 years old, she took home the title for the 3000-meter relay race in the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics, joined by a team of other exceptionally young athletes.