It’s still Liu Xiang (:

It may be just one minute but it’s one helluvan awesome commercial – style, class and inspiring notes all in just one minute. I love this ad. (:

Below is just for my reference cos we know internet articles disappear sometimes or impossible to locate after a while.

Translation of Statement From Liu Xiang

To those who care about me and support me,

Thanks for the understanding and support from so many of you who care about me. At the moment, I’m still sorry for my withdrawal from the competition and the disappointment it brings you.

On July 13, 2001, Beijing won the bid for the host of the Olympics, when it was also my 18th birthday. This connected my birthday celebration with the joy of winning the bid. Although I was nobody then, to attend the Olympics was every athlete’s dream, and I’ve been making all my efforts to achieve it.

In the 2004 Athens Olympics, I realized my dream of being an Olympic champion. From then on, to defend the championship in my motherland has become an unshakable goal in my heart. I love challenges, and never admit defeat. This is who I am. In fact, when I set foot on the land of Greece, I was very confident of my chances.

As I have won more and more championships and have gotten more and more attention and support, I have also faced an increasing amount of pressure and concerns in my life. Unlike other people of my age, I cannot get together with my friends without any restrictions. And I can feel the expectations from all over the country at all times.

I know that everyone was expecting me to run yesterday, and I wish I could finish the race in the way you’ve watched many times. But my foot was really… Please believe that the grief and pain in my heart is as strong as those in yours. But meanwhile, please believe that I am still the Liu Xiang as I was.

After I left the track, many, many friends sent me text messages and gave me calls. My sincere thanks to those friends who understand, support and encourage me. I would also like to offer my thanks for the support and honor given to me by people around the country in the past years.

I believe I still have enough strength. You will see a faster Liu Xiang.

Article from: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/21/sports/olympics/21liu.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1219496756-vIX059itnKL90YJvOgPOBA

Liu Xiang: Grace under pressure

Liu Xiang, China’s sole track gold medalist and national icon who had to pull out of the 110 meters hurdles because of injury, seems to have enjoyed a charmed life and unfailing love from his followers. For millions of Chinese, Liu is the symbol of vitality, individuality, hope, and most importantly, national pride. His handsome face, defiant demeanor and self-confidence speak of a modern China, or how China would like to be seen by the world.

 

For my part, however, I have never been a big fan. In fact, I was growing weary of seeing pictures of him everywhere and particularly his smug smile. He was a was the champion who seemed to bask in the glory of being a superstar, but I wasn’t sure there was any more to him than that.

Now I know there is. Faced with a tragic moment in his career, under tremendous pressure from a sports system where victory is everything and confronted by disillusioned, bitter former fans filled with righteous rage, Liu showed integrity, tenacity, and grace. At 10pm on the night of August 18th, the day he had to pull out of his qualifying heat, Liu appeared on Chinese television. He was calm, composed and quietly apologetic. “There are so many people supporting me, caring about me, helping me along the way, and I am really sorry,” Liu said. He tried to explain what happened on the track but there was little he could say. “I also didn’t want to see this happen. I thought of soldiering on, but if I did that, my tendon might have been permanently damaged. I really could not do it. At the moment I couldn’t even put my feeling into words.”

Liu also expressed an admirable optimism about his future. “I know I have the potential, if only I let my injury recover. I won’t explain more. I believe I will get better. The main task for me at the moment is to get treatment for my injury. There are other opportunities next year, and years after that. I must think positively. I will not blame the circumstances and I do not give up easily. I will pull myself together. That is who I am.”

This is who Liu is and his remaining fans, as well as new ones like me, love him for that.

Article from: http://time-blog.com/china_blog/2008/08/liu_xiang_chinas_sole_track.html?xid=rss-china 

 

Hurdler Liu Xiang leaves Olympics with leg injury

BEIJING (AP) — Liu Xiang and the entire nation of China looked forward to this moment for years: The defending Olympic champion lining up to run the 110-meter hurdles at the Beijing Games. He didn’t even get to race. Grimacing and rubbing his troublesome right hamstring before getting into his crouch, Liu pulled up lame just steps into the first round of qualifying Monday, leaving the Summer Games’ host country without one of its biggest stars — and far and away its biggest star in track and field.

He limped out of the block at the starting gun, took a few awkward steps, then stopped and limped again when the second gun sounded to signal a false start. No one is disqualified by an initial false start, yet Liu tore the pieces of paper with his number off each leg and immediately headed for a tunnel, stepping gingerly all the way with what the coach of China’s track team said was a right foot injury.

“He couldn’t imagine the pain he was suffering,” coach Feng Shuyong said at a news conference Liu didn’t attend. “Let me repeat: Liu Xiang will not withdraw unless the pain is unbearable.”

While the other entrants in his heat prepared for the restart, Liu took a slow, painful walk along a concrete path leading away from the rust-colored track where he was supposed to thrill a nation of 1.3 billion people.

Instead, he sat against a wall alone, that smiling face that adorns so many advertising billboards now sullen. At that moment, some members of the Chinese media watching the scene unfold on a TV under the stands began to cry while thousands of his disappointed countrymen were heading for the exits.

“I feel very sad for Liu Xiang,” said 67-year-old retiree Liu Guixiang. “After Liu Xiang’s injury, I won’t bother coming back to the Bird’s Nest for more.”

Had this been any other competition, in any other setting, it seems safe to say Liu wouldn’t even have shown up at the stadium himself on this day.

“When you see the crowd, you realize why he had to come out,” said Britain’s Allan Scott, who was surprised when he glanced across the lanes and didn’t see Liu ahead of him in the final heat.

Liu’s personal coach, Sun Haiping, said Liu was bothered by a right foot injury that has lingered for six or seven years — and that the pain intensified Saturday. Sun’s shoulders shook and he wiped away tears as he spoke about Liu’s withdrawal.

Feng said the injury is where the Achilles tendon attaches to Liu’s right foot, “his takeoff foot, so there is a lot of stress on that area.”

There were signs of trouble as soon as Liu made his first appearance on the Bird’s Nest’s big video screens. Once on the track, he stopped after clearing two hurdles during the warmup period, then crouched down and favored his right leg as he walked back to the starting area.

He peeled off his red shirt when others were lining up behind the blocks and seemed to wait forever before pulling a new jersey over his head.

“In watching warmups, we could see he wasn’t quite as strong as you expect him to be,” said former world record-holder Colin Jackson. “But we didn’t know it was as bad as it turned out to be.”

Liu’s hamstring problem forced him to pull out of a meet in New York on May 31 — the same night Usain Bolt first broke the world record in the 100 meters.

A week later, Liu lined up for the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., but was disqualified for a false start. He hasn’t raced since and only rarely has made public appearances, training in seclusion.

The 25-year-old hurdler is as much a celebrity here as Houston Rockets center Yao Ming. At the Athens Games four years ago, Liu became as the first Chinese man to win an Olympic track and field gold medal. A Chinese insurance company volunteered more than $10 million of coverage for his legs. His image appears everywhere in his hometown of Shanghai, and he has sponsorship deals with Visa and Coca-Cola, among others.

“I think the Chinese people will understand the situation,” Feng said of Liu’s withdrawal, “and will encourage him to come back to the track.”

Thursday night’s 110-meter hurdles final was expected to be one of the highlights of these Olympics: China’s Liu vs. Cuba’s Dayron Robles, the man who broke Liu’s world record in June — with 91,000 fans crowding into the Bird’s Nest to cheer on their man.

“I think they will be disappointed,” said Wang Wei, executive vice president of the games’ organizing committee. “But they will understand. When somebody has an accident, you can’t help it.”

Now Robles, who won his heat but at 13.39 seconds was well off his world record time of 12.87, becomes the clear favorite.

Yet another of the top contenders departed Monday when two-time Olympic silver medalist Terrence Trammell of the United States grabbed the second hurdle and limped off the track with an injured left leg.

The exits of Liu and Trammell leave David Oliver, thought to be running as consistently as any of the U.S. hurdlers of late, as a serious medal candidate. His personal best of 12.95 seconds is only 0.08 second off Robles’ world record.

Asked before Liu lined up for his heat whether he knew that his Chinese rival appeared to be hurting badly, Robles said he didn’t care.

“I’m going to do what Usain Bolt did,” the Cuban said when asked about breaking his hurdles world record. “The track is perfect. Anything is possible in the final.”

Article from: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gzuUtSnxdQL6oQyhWgNrc1f5AO_gD92KM0SG0

About that paragraph just above in bold, I am annoyed. That is no sportsmanship and clearly shows us how an athlete gets devoured into his own ambitions, losing appreciation of the values sport preach. And of course what the Olympics purpose was for. Even if he won or broke a record, it was done without Liu Xiang’s competing alongside so that pretty much doesn’t prove his record even if set on the finals. He should have hoped Liu Xiang could run so that a win would be a true display of his potential. Instead now he runs with the world judging. Even if he did set a new world record, the world would still question: Would he still be the record holder with Liu Xiang on best form?

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