After representing China as a diver, Yihua Li moved to Canada in 1990 where she began coaching the sport. She has earned many accolades for her work, being named Canadian senior Coach of the Year in 2000 by Diving Plongeon Canada, as well as Coach of the Year in 1994, 2000, 2006 and 2008. She also won the Petro-Canada Coaching Excellence Award seven times (2000, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015) and was a finalist for the Jack Donohue Trophy in 2008.
She has coached Anne Montminy, a double medalist at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and Olympians Myriam Boileau and Émilie Heymans, who won four Olympic medals over the course of her career. She also contributed to the two Olympic bronze medals of the Canadian team at the last Olympics in 2016 in Rio: Meaghan Benfeito’s 10m individual and 10m synchro along with partner Roseline Filion.
As a member of China’s national diving team, Yihua Li won gold in the 3m and silver in the 10m at the 1981 Universiades in Bucharest, Romania as well as silver in the 3m at the 1986 World Championships in Madrid, Spain. She was crowned 3m champion at the 1982 Asian Games and 1983 World Cup. World Swimming Magazine named her best springboard diver of 1983.