Zhang led the Australian short track speed skating team at four Olympic Games, coaching Steven Bradbury to Australia’s first ever Winter Olympic gold medal at Salt Lake City in 2002.
Zhang then worked closely with Bradbury to mentor younger athletes, producing top 10 performers at the 2006 and 2010 Olympic Winter Games and most recently in Sochi 2014, where young star Deanna Lockett placed ninth in the 1000m event.
OWIA CEO, Geoff Lipshut, believes Zhang has left a huge legacy for her sport.
“Ann has been the heart and soul of the short track speed skating program in Australia for many years,” Lipshut said.
“Ann has always worked with great energy and effort on behalf of her athletes. The OWIA has been extremely fortunate having Ann as an excellent employee. She has left big shoes to fill.”
Zhang began her coaching tenure at the OWIA in 1999, taking up the position as its inaugural Short Track Head Coach, and has been an invaluable resource to the program ever since.
In 2002 she completed a Graduate Diploma of Elite Sports Coaching through the University of Queensland, and continued to work on up-skilling herself, always prepared to innovate to provide a better training program for her athletes.
“Ann’s loyalty, passion, diligence and efforts have been outstanding and her contribution to the sport of speed skating in Australia unrivalled,” Lipshut said.
“The OWIA Board of Directors, stakeholders, coaches, athletes and staff thank Ann Zhang for her years of service and wish her much luck and happiness in her future.”