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Olympic failure my lowest point, Liu says

[ 2010-11-26 11:02]     字号 [] [] []  
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Two years after suffering a huge public backlash following his injury-forced withdrawal from the Beijing Olympics, hurdler Liu Xiang can finally face his demons and is ready to move on.

"I used to be unwilling to mention what happened [in Beijing] because it would take me into a deep depression," Liu told China Daily on Thursday.

"But that shadow isn't following me around anymore. I think more about the demons facing me now when I race. I know that I can only conquer them if I face them head on," said Liu, who is determined to recapture his Olympic crown at London 2012 after winning his third Asiad title in the 110m on Wednesday.

China's first track-and-field superstar went from being a national hero to one of the biggest disappointments of the 2008 Olympics when an Achilles injury robbed him of the chance to defend his gold medal in the 110m hurdles at Bird's Nest.

However, after rebuilding himself physically, in the wake of surgery in the United States, and mentally, he raced home in 13.09 seconds this week to appease his fans in Guangzhou and put the past behind him.

He said the self-reflection that followed the injury was part of a useful healing process.

"It was a valuable experience for me. It helped me to understand myself more clearly," said the 27-year-old.

"Now I know I can be strong again," said Liu, who set the world record of 12.88 seconds in 2006 and was crowned world champion one year later.

His time still stands as the Asian record, but he surrendered the world record to Cuba's Dayron Robles by the narrowest of margins just before the Beijing Games.

Liu's first comeback race after the Olympics, at the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix in September 2009, suggested he still had enough fire in his belly to climb back up to the top. The Shanghai native ran a wind-aided 13.15 but was narrowly beaten by then world No 2 Terrence Trammell of the United States.

Public expectations subsequently began to build up again, but Liu was underwhelming at the National Games and Asian Championships that followed, despite claiming both titles.

Things got worse this year.

He only managed a seventh-place finish at the world indoor championships in March in the 60m hurdles, and bronze at the Diamond League meet in Shanghai in May, where he clocked 13.40 and was beaten by teammate Shi Dongpeng for the first time.

Liu had to deal with a skeptical media, as well as a demanding public.

He said winning at the Guangzhou Asian Games, his best result after the 2008 Olympics, was a major confidence boost.

He plans to skip the indoor season at the beginning of next year and return to action for the outdoor events after May following intensive winter training.

Liu will compete in six to eight events next year, including overseas races in Europe and the United States, said his coach Sun Haiping.


1. Who was injured in 2008 and made a comeback at this year’s Asian Games?

2. What was his event and time?

3. What’s his record?


1. Hurdler Liu Xiang.

2. He raced home in 13.09 seconds this week in the 110m hurdles.

3. Liu set the world record of 12.88 seconds in 2006. It still stands as the Asian record.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Olympic failure my lowest point, Liu says

About the broadcaster:

Olympic failure my lowest point, Liu says

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is also fluent in Korean.