Sports

Stephanie Au

Photo Affa Chan

Swimmer Stephanie Au Hoi-shun is the only athlete to have represented Hong Kong four times at the Olympic Games. She advocates for women’s participation in sport, gender equality and mental health awareness.

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Balancing a world-class career in sport with being the face of fashion brands is demanding, but Stephanie Au Hoi-shun navigates these two notoriously high stakes worlds with grace and good humour. Hong Kong’s only four-time Olympian, Au went to her first Olympics in Beijing aged 16, and became a household name after she was flagbearer at the 2016 Rio Games. She now uses her platform and visibility to take on issues like #MeToo, gender equality and mental health in Hong Kong’s sports community, and advocates for women’s participation in sport. She has been vocal about her own ups and downs in life, and uses social media to show her 156,000 followers that modelling and sport aren’t always about perfection.

“I never really thought of myself as a role model, but I naturally feel obligated to give back in terms of educating young people. I don't want them to go through the same hardships as me; I want to draw from my experience and let them learn from my experiences, and give them tools and resources to empower them. That’s what I'll try to do after I quit swimming,” says Au. “It’s not about me. It’s about everyone in the sport. It’s about the athletes of Hong Kong.”

Her efforts through the challenging landscape of the last two years contributed to Hong Kong sending its largest cohort of athletes to Tokyo, most of whom were women, and bringing home more medals than all its other Olympic appearances combined. At 29, Au isn’t sure whether a fifth Olympic outing will be on the cards, but she will appear at next year’s Asian Games, riding high on the momentum from summer 2021. “I’m honoured to be part of making history for Hong Kong.”

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Stephanie Au was 16 years old when she first represented Hong Kong at the Olympics.  
 

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