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Liu Xiang crashes out of the Olympics

08-08-2012 16:54 BJT Special Report:2012 London Olympic Games |

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Tuesday’s action will be remembered for one of the Games’ most shocking moments. Former Olympic 110 meter hurdles champion and world-record holder Liu Xiang ended his London quest. The 29-year-old crashed in his first qualifying heat.

Four years after his nightmare in Beijing, it was deja vu for Liu Xiang.

The only difference is that this disaster was more dramatic.

Liu lined up for Tuesday’s heat with the expectations of a nation on his shoulders. But it was another part of his body that had a greater weight to bear -- his previous foot problem.

With his right Achilles heavily taped, the athlete left the starting blocks like normal - but he shockingly crashed on the first hurdle.

He fell to the track and stayed down for a few moments, clutching his lower right leg.

Eventually he picked himself up and tried to head to the nearest exit, using his one good leg.

Then unexpectedly, he took a detour, limping determinedly down the track toward the finish line. Kissed the last hurdle goodbye, Liu earned a round of applause from the 80,000 spectators.

Other competitors helped Liu into a wheelchair.

This was not the way the Chinese sports icon wanted to leave his third and probably last Olympics.

Feng Shuyong, Deputy chief, Chinese athletic team: "Liu has received medical treatment over the past four years. We never stopped that. As I mentioned before, an Achilles tendon injury is very hard to heal. There are many examples of other athletes who suffered simliar injuries. Once you hurt your tendon, it will never be 100-percent and it is an injury that lasts the rest of your life. Before today’s race, our doctors used various methods to help Liu warm up. But there’s little else we can do."

Leading up to the Games, there were hints that Liu was not 100-percent.

He withdrew from the London Diamond League meet, weeks before the Olympics.

Upon his arrival in the British capital last Friday, Liu’s coach revealed he was worried about Liu’s old achilles injury was once again flaring up.

Supporters who watched Lui’s exit expressed their disappointment over what happened, but many were understanding and sympathetic.

Dong Lina, Olympic spectator: "I really feel sorry for him. Because we all had great hopes for him and wished he could have a good result. But he fell on the first hurdle and our hearts also fell."

Gao Qing, Olympic spectator: "The Chinese crowd is very knowledgeable. It’s no longer important if the athlete wins a gold medal or not. Liu Xiang tried his best and he led the Chinese people’s enthusiasm in the Olympics. We should enjoy the process more than the actual result."

According to the Chinese athletic team, Liu might have snapped his Achilles. If that is the case the 29-year-old will probably undergo surgery in Britain to repair the damage.

Editor:Wang Shuo |Source: CCTV.com

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