She also won a second gold in the 1000 metres and a silver medal in the 3,000 metres relay. In her Olympic career, she also won a silver medal in the relay at Nagano in 1998 and bronze in the 1,000 metres in Turin in 2006.
In a glittering period of domination of her sport, she also won a remarkable 32 world titles in seven years, becoming the first speed skater to win six overall short track world titles, which she won consecutively from 1997 to 2002.
Yang Yang’s greatest years were probably 2001 and 2002. She confirmed her dominance in 2001 by winning her fifth consecutive world overall title and during the three days of competition she reached the finals of all five events, taking gold in the 1,000, 1,500 and 3,000 metres individual races and the 3,000 metres relay, plus silver in the 500 metres. In 2002, while her focus was on the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, she was also the most successful athlete in the World Championships in Montreal, winning one silver and four gold medals.
After the 2003 World Championships, Yang Yang took time off from competition, but came back in the 2004/05 season in the lead-up to the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, where she won the bronze medal in the 1000 metres race. She retired soon afterwards. She became a Laureus World Sports Academy Member in 2015.
Since her retirement Yang Yang has had distinguished career in sports administration. She has been a member of the International Olympic Committee, a member of the Athletes Commission of the World Anti Doping Agency and a founding member of the Chinese Athlete Education Foundation.
She was appointed Executive Director of the Chinese National Olympic Committee in 2006 and Vice-Chair of the Chinese Youth Federation in 2010. In 2014 she became Chair of the IOC Evaluation Commission for the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games. In 2017 she was appointed Chair of the Athlete’s Commission for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. She is a global ambassador for Special Olympics.