Liu Xiang

Liu Xiang

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Liu Xiang
Event hurdler
Nationality China
Born July 13, 1983 at Shanghai, Shanghai, China
Club Shanghai

Liu Xiang (1983-) (劉 翔 ) is a Chinese 110 metre hurdler. Liu is an Olympic gold medallist and World Champion.[1] His 2004 Olympic gold medal was the first in a men's track and field event for China or any Asian country, in which the previous best was held by Olympic silver medallist C.K. Yang of the Republic of China.



In May 2001, he won at East Asian Games in Osaka, Japan with 13.42 seconds. In August 2001, he won at World University Games in Beijing, China with 13.33 seconds.

In May 2004 at an IAAF race in Osaka, Japan, Liu bettered his personal record time of 13.06 seconds

2004 Olympics

Liu Xiang won the gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens in the 110 metre hurdles event, equaling Colin Jackson's 1993 world record of 12.91 seconds. Liu became just the sixth man to post a time under 13 seconds for this event. The ecstatic Liu at once fulfilled the great promise he had shown in setting a world junior record two years earlier and raised the hopes of his compatriots for a repeat victory at the 2008 Games in Beijing.

Liu, a 21-year-old student at East China Normal University at the time of his Athens victory, became the object of a bidding war between commercial sponsors. The Chinese Track and Field Association restricted him to four such deals.

Liu finished the season with four of the year's ten fastest clockings. Reaching 17 finals in the 60 m indoor hurdles and the 110 metre hurdles, he lost just two, both to American Allen Johnson. Liu, at 1.89 m (6 ft 2 in) and 85 kg (187 lb), was taller than most sprint hurdlers, and he has showed spectacular athleticism by constraining his naturally long stride to the three-step pattern necessary in order to avoid the alternation of lead legs in hurdling.

2005 and 2007 World Championships

In August, Liu won a silver medal at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Helsinki, Finland, finishing 13.08 seconds, 0.01 seconds after champion Ladji Doucouré from France. In November, he won at East Asian Games in Macau, China with 13.21 seconds. Off track, in May, he was awarded the Laureus World Sports Award for Newcomer of the Year for his breakthrough performance at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

Liu set a new world record in the 110 metre hurdles, at the Super Grand Prix in Lausanne on July 11, 2006, with a time of 12.88 seconds (+1.1 m/s tailwind). The record was ratified by the IAAF.[2] In that same race, American Dominique Arnold had also beaten the previous record with a time of 12.90 seconds.[3] In September, he won gold at IAAF World Athletics Final in Stuttgart, Germany with 12.93 seconds.

On August 31, 2007 at the World Athletics Championships in Osaka, Japan, Liu won gold in the 110 metre hurdles with 12.95 seconds to become the World Champion for the first time.

On May 23, 2008, Liu participated in a test event at the Beijing National Stadium.[4] He pulled out of the Reebok Grand Prix in New York on May 31, citing hamstring problems. On June 8, he false-started at the Prefontaine Classic at Eugene, Oregon. Liu skipped the entire European circuit, preferring to train for the Olympics in China instead.

2008 Olympics

Leading up to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, many in China expected Liu to win another gold medal.[5] China deemed another gold medal from Liu essential for a successful Olympics.[4] 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[5], leaving the crowd at the Beijing National Stadium in stunned silence,[6] confusion,[7] and tears.[4][5]

According to China's track and field association, Liu suffered from a recurrence of chronic inflammation in his right Achilles tendon.[4] 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.[6] 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"[6] 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 believes that the injury would not prevent him from future competitions and vows to "come back" for the next Olympics. [8]

Liu's injury was significant and also ruled him out of the following year's major competition, the 2009 World Championships in Athletics.[9] 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.[10]

Career highlights

Year Tournament Venue Event Result Notes
2001 East Asian Games Osaka, Japan 110 m hurdles 1st 13.42 seconds
2001 World University Games Beijing, China 110 m hurdles 1st 13.33 seconds
2002 IAAF Super Grand Prix Lausanne, Switzerland 110 m hurdles 2nd 13.12 seconds, set world junior record and Asian record
2002 Asian Championships in Athletics Colombo, Sri Lanka 110 m hurdles 1st 13.56 seconds
2002 Asian Games Busan, South Korea 110 m hurdles 1st 13.27 seconds
2003 IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham, UK 60 m hurdles 3rd 7.52 seconds
2003 IAAF World Championships Paris, France 110 m hurdles 3rd 13.23 seconds
2004 IAAF World Indoor Championships Budapest, Hungary 60 m hurdles 2nd 7.43 seconds
2004 Summer Olympic Games Athens, Greece 110 m hurdles 1st 12.91 seconds, tied world record
2005 IAAF World Championships in Athletics Helsinki, Finland 110 m hurdles 2nd 13.08 seconds
2006 IAAF Super Grand Prix Lausanne, Switzerland 110 m hurdles 1st 12.88 seconds, set world record
2006 IAAF World Athletics Final Stuttgart, Germany 110 m hurdles 1st 12.93 seconds
2006 Asian Games Doha, Qatar 110 m hurdles 1st 13.15 seconds
2007 IAAF Super Grand Prix Lausanne, Switzerland 110 m hurdles 1st 13.01 seconds
2007 IAAF World Championships in Athletics Osaka, Japan 110 m hurdles 1st 12.95 seconds
2008 IAAF World Indoor Championships Valencia, Spain 60 m hurdles 1st 7.46 seconds

External links


  1. Liu sets new world hurdles record
  2. IAAF International Association of Athletics Federations - - Statistics - Records
  3. IAAF International Association of Athletics Federations - World Athletics Tour 2006 - News
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Longman, Jeré (2008-08-18). "China’s Big Hope in Track Doesn’t Get Out of Blocks". New York Times.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Coonan, Clifford (2008-08-18). "Heartbreak for China as hero limps out before first hurdle". The Independent.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "China's Liu Xiang pulls out of 110m hurdles". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (2008-08-18).
  7. Reynolds, James. "Liu Xiang out", BBC News, 2008-08-18.
  8. Yardley, Jim (2008-08-19). "Star Hurdler Apologizes to China for Withdrawal. New York Times.
  9. Lei, Lei (2009-08-06). It's official, star hurdler to miss World Championships. China Daily. Retrieved on 2009-08-06.
  10. Liu clearing fitness hurdles. Press Association (2009-07-16). Retrieved on 2009-08-07.

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