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Soo Yeon Lee (born May 22, 1984) is a former South Korean table tennis player, model, actress and coach. Lee started playing table tennis at a very early age and was also trained extensively in the sport by an Olympic gold medalist Jung Hwa Hyun in South Korea. Soon thereafter she went on to successively win the Korean National Junior Championship six times since the age of 12.[1] She has been featured in advertisement campaigns for a number of prominent brands including Nike, Adidas, K-Swiss, Red Bull, and Target. She is the brand ambassador for SPiN, a chain of table tennis restaurants and bars.

Soo Yeon Lee
Soo Yeon Lee.jpg
Native name
Born (1984-05-22) May 22, 1984 (age 35)
Busan, South Korea
NationalitySouth Korean
OccupationTable tennis player, model, actress, coach
Modeling information
Height175 cm (5 ft 9 in)
Hair colorBlack
Eye colorBrown
Korean name
Revised RomanizationI Suyeon
McCune–ReischauerYi Suyŏn


Early life and table tennis careerEdit

Lee in 2014

Lee was born in Busan, South Korea, where she began playing table tennis at the age of nine[2] and was competing six months after that.[1] 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 Sport University where she was coached by Ahn Jae-hyung and joined the national team. In 2001, Lee was a member of the silver medal winning South Korean team at the World University Championships in Beijing. While studying at the university, Lee earned degrees in sports psychology and physical education.[3][4]

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.[3][4] After 5 months in New Zealand, Lee returned to South Korea.[5]

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.[5] She won several tournaments in the United States, including the US Open in 2007, and Killerspin Invitational in 2009.[3][4]

Modeling and actingEdit

Lee was discovered by modeling agents in Los Angeles soon after she moved to L.A. in 2007, but she started working as model professionally in 2009.[5] It was not until 2009, however, that her modeling career began to integrate her table tennis skills. In 2009, Lee attended the opening of Susan Sarandon's first table tennis club SPiN in New York City.[5] She later appeared with Sarandon on The Jay Leno Show[6][7] and has since been a brand ambassador for the company as it has expanded to other locations.[8][2][9] Lee has worked for a number of other clients including Nike, Adidas, K-Swiss, Red Bull, Playboy, and Target.[10][11]

In addition to Lee's modeling work, she has also acted, including in an episode of Entourage,[2] Keeping Up with the Kardashians,[12] Cross Wars,[13] and other films.[5]


Lee is a USA Table Tennis certified coach.[4] In addition to competitive players, she has coached a number of celebrities including Oliver Stone, Jamie Foxx, Susan Sarandon, Reggie Miller, as well as John Stamos, and Kevin Dillon for the Entourage TV series.[14] She was also hired by the nation of Georgia to develop a program aimed at encouraging youth engagement in table tennis.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Lee, May (April 4, 2016). "Soo Yeon Lee: Ping Pong passion". CCTV America. Full Frame. China Central Television.
  2. ^ a b c "Soo Yeon Lee: Table tennis has helped launch my career" (PDF). USA Table Tennis Magazine. USATT (July/August): 48. 2011. Retrieved May 7, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Marshall, Ian (April 30, 2012). "Soo Yeon Lee First Team Choice for Los Angeles Celebrity Tournament". ITTF News. International Table Tennis Federation. Retrieved May 7, 2016.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ a b c d Schmotolocha, Christina (July 30, 2012). "Soo Yeon Bio and Interview - The Woman of Many Talents". LA Splash Magazine. Splash Magazines Worldwide. Retrieved May 7, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Soo Yeon Lee on Morning Wide talk show". 모닝 와이드 (Morning Wide) (in Korean). Feb 26, 2013. KBS1. Retrieved May 7, 2016.
  6. ^ "Susan Sarandon". The Jay Leno Show. Season 1. Episode 59. December 7, 2009. NBC. Retrieved May 8, 2016.
  7. ^ Miller, Julie (December 8, 2009). "Jay Leno and Susan Sarandon Watch Scantily Clad Ping-Pong Champ Wipe Out: VIDEO". Movieline. PMC. Retrieved May 8, 2016.
  8. ^ "Soo Yeon Lee". SPiN. SPiN Global. Retrieved May 27, 2017.
  9. ^ Marquez, Miguel (January 31, 2014). Super Bowl Ads: Unlikely stars take on ping-pong mania. CNN. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  10. ^ Lee, Soo Yeon. "Photos". Archived from the original on April 16, 2016. Retrieved May 7, 2016.
  11. ^ Sanchez Sandoval, Edgar (December 14, 2014). "Soo Yeon Lee, la jugadora de ping-pong más "hot" del mundo" [Soo Yeon Lee, the hottest ping-pong player in the world]. Publimetro Mexico (in Spanish). Retrieved May 27, 2017.
  12. ^ Wightman, Catriona (July 15, 2013). "Kardashians: Ping pong, jealousy and black toilet paper - week 7 recap". Digital Spy. Retrieved May 8, 2016.
  13. ^ "Cross Wars (2017) - Full Cast & Crew". IMdb. Retrieved July 11, 2017.

External linksEdit