Photos: The Soo Yeon Lee Story.


Lee was born in Busan, South Korea, where she began playing table tennis at the age of nine and was competing six months after that.


She won her first National Junior Championship at the age of 12.


Soon after Lee left home to receive extensive training under the world champion Lee Ailesa, at the Korean National Training Center.

She later trained under the supervision of Olympic Gold Medalist Hyun Jung-hwa.

Lee won 5 more Korean National Junior championships, followed by three wins in Korean national tournaments.

Lee enrolled in Korea National Sports University where she was coached by Ahn Jae-Hyung and joined the national team.

In 2000, Lee won a silver medal at the World University Championships in Shanghai. While studying at the university, Lee earned degrees in sports psychology and physical education.

In 2004, Lee decided to move to New Zealand to learn English.

Lee won the New Zealand Women’s Singles Championship and she was named New Zealand Female Sportsperson of the Year.

After 5 months in New Zealand, Lee returned to South Korea. Lee’s next move was to the United States in 2007 while her sister was studying in Chicago, Illinois.

Lee moved to Los Angeles, California where she enrolled in UCLA. She won several tournaments in the United States, including the US Open in 2007, and Killerspin Invitational in 2009.