Olympic champ Jiao named Communist Party delegate

Olympic champ Jiao named Communist Party delegate

Published Aug. 14, 2012 6:03 a.m. ET

Olympic women's 200-meter butterfly champion Jiao Liuyang is heading from the pool to politics as a delegate to China's Communist Party congress.

The congress happens once every five years and is especially important this time because it will name a new set of leaders to steer the world's most populous nation and second largest economy. The party has long made it a practice of rewarding successful athletes with seats on local or national bodies, although Jiao's honor vaults her higher than most.

The 21-year-old Jiao is the youngest delegate to the congress, set to begin sometime in October. As a member of a military swim team, she is also technically a member of the People's Liberation Army and sometimes appears in uniform.