Jian Fang Lay
Jian Fang-Lay made history at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games by joining Nat Cook (beach volleyball) and Mary Hanna (equestrian) as the only women to have competed at five Olympic Games for Australia. Born in China, Fang Lay headed to Australia in 1994 and soon after retired from the sport she grew up playing. She didn’t stay away for long though and eventually achieved her Olympic dream at the Sydney 2000 Games where she competed in the doubles alongside Stella Zhou. She lined up in both the singles and doubles events in Athens, securing her first win in Olympic competition when she defeated Croatia’s Cornelia Vaida in the first round of the singles event. She would go on to win in the opening round of the singles competitions in Beijing 2008 and London 2012 but bowed out in each of the team events in the first round at both of those Games.
In Rio, she lined up alongside Melissa Tapper and Sally Zhang in the team event where Australia went down 3-0 to North Korea. She had her best singles tournament of her Olympic career though, defeating Russia’s Maria Dolgikh and Austria’s Sofia Polcanova in the opening two rounds of the competition. She would bow out in the third round to Indonesia’s multiple World Championship medallist Mengyu Yu.
Having won four silver and three bronze Commonwealth Games medals, Fang Lay is undoubtedly one of the nation’s all-time greats of the sport.