Chen Zhaodi

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Chen Zhaodi (Chinese: 陈招娣; 15 April 1955 – 1 April 2013) was a Chinese volleyball player, coach, and military general. She was a key member of the Chinese national team that won the 1981 FIVB Volleyball Women's World Cup and the 1982 FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championship. After retiring as a player in 1983, she served as assistant coach and later team manager for the national team, and as head coach for the national women's junior team. She later became Director of the Culture and Sports Bureau of the People's Liberation Army General Political Department and was awarded the rank of major general, making her the only Chinese sportsperson to become a military general. Chen suffered from cancer and died in 2013 at the age of 57.

Early life

Chen was born on 15 April 1955[1] in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China.[2] She studied at Hangzhou No. 10 High School.[2] In December 1970, she was selected to play for the Zhejiang Provincial Women's Volleyball Team at the age of 15.[3]



In 1973, Chen was selected into the People's Liberation Army's Bayi Volleyball Team.[1] In June 1979, she suffered an injury in an Asian Club Championship game against Japan's Hitachi Team and fractured the radial bone in her left arm. Two months later, she played for the Bayi team in the Fourth National Games of China with her left arm wrapped in bandage, henceforth earning the nickname "One-armed General".[2]

In 1976, Chen was selected by China women's national volleyball team to play as a setter.[1] Coached by Yuan Weimin, the team won its first Asian championship in 1979.[4] In 1981, the team won the FIVB Volleyball Women's World Cup for the first time, and Chen played a key role in that victory,[1] together with her teammate and close friend Lang Ping.[4] The following year, the team won the 1982 FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championship in Peru.[5] The team won three more world titles in the next four years and its members were hailed as national heroes in China.[1] Chen retired in 1983 as a player and was an assistant coach for the team when it won the gold medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics.[3] Beginning in 1983, she studied at Beijing Institute of Physical Education.[6]

In 1986, Chen became the head coach of China's national junior team, which won the bronze medal at the 1987 Women's Junior Volleyball World Championships. However, she was diagnosed with cancer in 1988 and had to leave the post.[1]

After undergoing cancer treatment, she joined the reorganized national women's volleyball team in 1989[3] and served as team manager until 1992.[1] In 1993, she became Vice President of the Chinese Volleyball Association.[1][6]


In 1993, Chen joined the Culture and Sports Bureau of the People's Liberation Army General Political Department (GPD). She was later promoted to director of the bureau and deputy chief of the GPD's publicity department, and was awarded the rank of major general in July 2006.[2] She is the only Chinese sportsperson to become a military general.[1][2] In that capacity, she made the decision to allow the basketball star Wang Zhizhi to return to play in China. Wang, a former player of the military's Bayi Rockets team, had reneged on his promise to join the Chinese national team in order to play in the National Basketball Association in the United States, and many had wanted to punish him by forbidding him to play again in China after the end of his NBA career.[2]

Personal life

On 1 April 2013, Chen died in Beijing from cancer, at the age of 57.[1] Her parents, two older sisters and a younger brother had all died from cancer.[2] Nearly 1,000 people attended her funeral at the Babaoshan People's Cemetery.[7]

Chen's story was written into middle-school textbooks in China.[2][3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Tang, Zhe (2013-04-02). "Renowned volleyball player passes away". China Daily. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "陈招娣病逝亲朋好友追思哀悼 癌症或是家庭遗传". Sohu (in Chinese). 2013-04-02. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
  3. ^ a b c d "顶撞袁伟民晋升女少将 陈招娣的故事曾被写入课本". Phoenix News (in Chinese). 2013-04-01. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
  4. ^ a b "缅怀|"独臂将军"逝世六周年 曾是郎平的好闺蜜". Sina (in Chinese). 2019-04-02. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
  5. ^ Han, Bing (2013-04-01). "老女排冠军陈招娣少将因病逝世 享年58岁". Phoenix News (in Chinese). Retrieved 2019-04-04.
  6. ^ a b "China's renowned volleyball player Chen Zhaodi passes away". Fédération Internationale de Volleyball. April 2, 2013. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  7. ^ Liao Xugang 廖旭钢 (2013-04-06). "清明千人送别陈招娣 袁伟民口号让郎平眼泪决堤". Phoenix News (in Chinese). Retrieved 2019-04-04.

External links

  • Chen Zhaodi at
  • Chen Zhaodi at
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