Professional swimmer; motivational speaker
All eyes were on swimmer Yvette Kong at the Summer Olympics as she took to the water in Rio — although her sporting achievements have been landing her in the spotlight since she was little.
Representing the SAR in the 2016 Olympics, Kong began swimming at a young age and had already made a name for herself by breaking records in 50m, 100m and 200m races. She also swam for Hong Kong at the Asian Games, the Asian Youth Games and the Youth Olympics, just to name a few. She was also named the most promising athlete at the Hong Kong Sports Stars Awards in 2009.
Her path hasn’t always been smooth. “The Rio Olympics was a lot to take in. Having narrowly missed the Olympics twice, and finally reaching the milestone, was emotional,” she says. There was also a time when she faced uncertainties in her career, retiring briefly from professional swimming in 2013 after what she thought was a “lackluster season”.
“I still had love for the sport, and going to the Olympics was still an unfinished dream.” Determined to overcome emotional setbacks, Kong seeked professional help and also learned to enjoy the process, or “things along the way, rather than the end goal.”
Kong continues to swim professionally while also giving motivational talks at the likes of HSBC, HKU and HKUST. It doesn’t end there — she’s also an amateur photographer.
“I am looking for opportunities to build educational programs, mainly to pass on the message of resilience and encourage values like integrity and empathy.”
Her very first job? Swimming!