China’s Superstar: Favorite No More?

 
 

His name is Liu Xiang – just 25 years old, but carrying the  dreams of 1.3 billion people.


Liu is China’s reigning Olympic Champion in the 110 meter hurdles. 

And he is China’s best hope for winning Gold in Track & Field.

But is the pressure too great for any one person to bear?

In recent months, according to the Times of London, Liu is no longer the UNQUESTIONED FAVORITE

What happened? First, injury. Just two months before the Beijing Games, a sore hamstring forced Liu to pull out of a big event in New York.

Soon after,  Liu was disqualified from another race due to a false start -- his third in as many races. His coach said it was a small mistake, Liu was just too eager to run well.

But on top of all this, his rivals are breathing down his back. Just recently, one Cuban athlete broke Liu’s World record, and one American came close to breaking it too.

Some believe defeat would be a disaster for Liu, and his country, which treats him  like a superstar celebrity – rivaled only by his friend, the Great Yao Ming.

But Liu says he will use the recent setbacks as motivation to excel.

He may take the advice of Australia’s Gold Medal runner Cathy Freeman, who faced similar pressure during the Sydney Games. Liu, she says, should ignore all expectations and treat the races as another day in the office.

He also follows in the footsteps of another role model – Michael Jordan – and rely on his own proven ability to thrive under pressure. Indeed, Liu says the louder the crowd, the better he’ll perform.

 

Liu Xiang