I’ve heard much discussion between my foreign and Chinese friends about Liu Xiang’s recent withdrawal from the Summer Games. The Chinese disappointment and Expat frustration is being displaced and suddenly Mr. Liu as a great big loser. A self-interested quitter who was pressured by a tyrannical government that is obviously giving false information.
The rumors abound, but I disagree with them. I am sick of hearing this. In my opinion, Liu Xiang, like all Chinese people and people everywhere, loves his country. Especially at this time, when China is holding her first Summer Games, Mr. Liu would want to perform and honor his country. He is an elite athlete who has trained most or all of his life. This is what he has trained to do all his life. He is anything but a quitter.
Chances are, the truest story is the simplest. Mr. Liu was injured some time in the past and instead of allowing his wound to heal, he was compelled to continue his training and give it his all until the injury worsened to the point where he not only couldn’t race but could barely walk. What he is guilty of is sacrificing his good healthy body for his countrymen.
What people are saying is that is not enough. That’s not acceptable. He should participate and race. I paid thousands of RMB for my ticket to see him. He should not disappoint the Chinese people.
Disgusting. It’s a pity more people don’t understand how, in seconds, a single injury can transform a world-class athlete into a living legend. It’s a pity more people don’t understand how few of them would be willing to make the tremendous sacrifice these athletes make everyday for years. Sacrifice for a competition that lasts seconds or minutes and that may change their entire lives for the better or worse. Few people can do this but anyone can criticize.
Liu Xiang is a hero to his country and to his sport. Sure he was probably pressured by his government, friends, and family, but only through expressions of encouragement and pride. Anybody’s family would do the same, not because they are mean, but because they are proud and excited. Liu Xiang undoubtedly did not want to let his family or country down and so he probably pushed the hardest. Anyone would do the same, and anyone’s family would still love you if you injured yourself so seriously you could not compete. We should still love Liu Xiang.
I think people are demanding more, more, and more. I think people are being greedy and selfish and childish. I think people are displacing their disappointment and frustration. I think this guy tried so hard and gave so much of himself that he broke and now we should be doing anything but criticizing him.