Liu Xiang, China's most famous athlete and best hope for Olympic track gold, withdrew from the Beijing Games today after an achilles injury left him unable to run the opening heats of the 110-meter hurdles. Thursday's final of the hurdles was the most anticipated event of these Olympics in the host country, as Liu was expected to defend his title in front of 91,000 at the Bird's Nest and an estimated 900 million viewers on TV.
“We 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.”
Yao Ming might have carried the flag at the Opening Ceremony, but Liu is said to be China's most revered athletic hero. It's said to be impossible to walk a block in Beijing without seeing Liu's face on a billboard, newspaper, bus or store window. His surprising win in Athens four years ago made Liu a national icon and hopes were high in China that he could duplicate his success in Beijing.
Personally, I wanted to see him lose but not go out because of an injury like this. lt's true, you can't turn on the TV, walk down the street, or go into a store without seeing his face selling something. Does this make him great? Just because he can run the hurdles and cashed in on it he's a great champion? Come on, he's an athlete and a salesman. Well, he made his money off his fame and in this world that's his due, but let's see how much support he gets now by watching if all the billboards and placards for the milk and visa card that he sells come down. I, for one, am tired of seeing his face. Let's see some other Chinese champion like Zhang Yining get her due. (by Yhaoo:Jake)