Liu Xiang - Career - Beijing Olympics

Beijing Olympics

Leading up to the Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, Liu bore national expectations of a repeat victory on home soil. On August 18, Liu withdrew from the Olympic 110 metre hurdles. He walked off the track after a false start by another runner in his first-round heat, leaving the crowd at the Beijing National Stadium in stunned silence, confusion, and tears. According to Jeré Longman of the New York Times, "China's greatest hope had been dashed".

According to China's track and field association, Liu suffered from a recurrence of chronic inflammation in his right Achilles tendon. Liu's coach, Sun Haiping addressed the media during a press conference and stated that the hurdler had been hampered by a tendon injury for six or seven years. He commented on the situation, saying "We worked hard every day, but the result was as you see and it is really hard to take." Sun, who was in tears for most of the press conference, stated that Liu would be unable to compete for the remainder of 2008. Liu made a public apology to the Chinese media the following day, saying he could "do nothing but pull out of the race" because of his foot injury. He believed that the injury would not prevent him from future competitions and vowed to "come back" for the next Olympics.

Liu's injury was significant and also ruled him out of the following year's major competition, the 2009 World Championships in Athletics. However, coach Sun Haiping was confident that he would return in time for the Chinese national championships and 2009 Asian Championships in Athletics in November.

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