Hurdler Liu Xiang’s Historic Gold Display in Athens 2004 | Olympics on the Record

Hurdler Liu Xiang’s Historic Gold Display in Athens 2004 | Olympics on the Record

Home advantage can be
a mixed blessing. The support of the
home crowd is welcome, but the burden of expectation
can be overwhelming. And in Beijing 2008, the entire Chinese nation was
looking to one man for glory. This man, Liu Xiang. Few people will ever be able to
understand the pressure that Liu Xiang was under to bring home gold
at the Beijing Olympics. His modest habits
and unassuming manner made him irresistible
to big business, desperate to be associated
with an authentic Chinese hero. In the build-up to the games,
Liu was everywhere, his image associated with
everything from sports brands
to soft drinks. His opening appearance
on the track brought the nation
to a standstill. China’s 110 metre hurdle champ was about to start
his Olympic campaign. TV audiences spiked. But something didn’t feel
right. There had been rumours
about his fitness, an old Achilles injury
flaring up. Liu was not himself. A false start by
Marcel van der Westen, but no-one was looking
at the Dutchman, a nation turned its eye on Liu. Did that just happen? Did he just pull up before
the first hurdle? And then he walked off. No restart, no heat,
no Olympic final for Liu Xiang. There was silence in the
stadium. TV audiences plunged. The pain, the shock. There were tears, dismay and bitter,
bitter disappointment. Now, wait a moment.
No-one died! Beijing 2008 was a great
success. China won plenty of gold
medals. So why did the fortunes of just
one athlete matter so much? Why so much pressure
on one man? To answer that question, you need to take a broader look at the history of
Chinese athletics. While it is true that China has been a heavyweight
at the Olympic Games, their success on the track
has been limited. The men’s team had won
just one medal, Zhu Jianhua winning bronze
in the high jump in 1984, and nothing since. Out of this emerged
the young Liu Xiang. He was inspired by Zhu to take
up athletics and the high jump. But at 6’2″, Liu is on the
short side for a high jumper. So, instead, Liu drifted into
the 110 metre hurdles, new ground for
a Chinese athlete. And something else
about the hurdles. It’s really hard. It’s really, really hard! Young Liu devoted himself
to the toughest, most technically demanding
discipline of them all. There are so many elements
to this craft, so much to get right,
so much to get wrong. At 16 Liu was the schoolboy
champion of China. At 18 he broke the junior
world record. At 20, he won a bronze medal
at the World Championship. Going into the 2004 Olympic
Games in Athens, China finally had a genuine
contender in track and field. Here’s heat 3.
Out of the blocks. Hernandez of Cuba
has a big start and Liu coming on now,
he always finishes well. Terrance Tremmel is coming with
him. Can he keep up with Liu? Liu easing up, he’s qualified
easily and so has Tremmel. Liu, now 21,
sailed through his heats, his exceptional technique seeing him safely
into the final. Olympic record holder Allen
Johnson would not be joining him after coming unstuck. The 110m hurdles,
an obstacle course with spikes. Liu had a real chance of
a medal. Chinese fans in their millions got up in the early hours
to watch. A nation dared to dream. And they’re off. Allen, a great start in lane 1. Tremmel from the USA in lane 6
is moving well too. But here comes Liu,
he’s being pushed by the Frenchman, Doucoure, but this is really fast.
He’s pulling away now, and Liu is in. That’s gold for China
and a new Olympic record! Just off the world mark. The first Chinese male athlete
in history to win gold in track and field. Liu would remain in the
headlines as the country prepared for Beijing 2008,
Liu’s home Olympic Games. In 2006, he set a new world
record of 12.88. In 2007, he won
the World Championship, another first for China and
Liu. He was all set to defend
his Olympic gold medal in his hometown in 2008. As we know, it didn’t work out Let’s not go over all that
again because
“to understand is to forgive”. But for everything he’s done
for Chinese sport, Liu Xiang doesn’t deserve
forgiveness, he deserves thanks.

100 Replies to “Hurdler Liu Xiang’s Historic Gold Display in Athens 2004 | Olympics on the Record”

  1. Chinese athletes have a very, very, very difficult and different circumstance around them. Dont forget that.
    They are under 10x the pressure and undergo way more more training.

  2. If I watched this video before I did track, I would have never done Hurdles like I chose to. Still one of the best choices I've made

  3. He let his actions speak for itself on the track, off it he was quiet and unassuming with no airs. What a man ??

  4. “China won plenty of gold medals”
    proceeds to show a clip of two Chinese ping pong players both in the final

  5. Wow. This is shocking. Complete failure on team China and Liu Xiang. I didn't know he didn't start in Final due to injury. Instead of becoming legend, he will remember by this failure. Wow.

  6. I'm a 12 year old asain and I do hurdles for Doncaster so hopefully that will be me one day representing Britain ??

  7. 4:22秒,那是刘翔要必胜夺冠的最具有杀气的眼神。那时的刘翔是最具有统治力的。

  8. Generation problems, back in 2008, the main force on the internet and media are people born in the 1980s, who were still heavily nationalists and don't understand how to appreciate an athlete. If this story happened 10 years later, when the more liberal 90ers have grown up. He would get much less negative comments from uneducated idiots.

  9. Pressure. Liu was a person who is emotional and get over excited easily. But he still is a hero in the eyes of the Chinese ppl. As an Asian, getting a medal in track and field is big news. After all, we do not have the physical genes endowed by black athletes.

  10. I am from Honduras and I love Xiu Xiang!! Sports and music will always serve as catalysts that unite humanity. Yes, sports is competitive, but I will cheer with pride and stand in solidarity with a great athlete of any color, ethnicity or country of origin.

  11. I hope Liu was given a stable of fine athletic females to help him foster more champions of the future. The offspring would be in their early teens by now so we will know in a few years.

  12. At 4:08 american showoff, bites the dust. Sunglasses and nothing to show for. hahahaha ! Just stay down american, you are nothing against China.

  13. its n athelete dream to Win an Olympc Medal let alone a gold or silevr lr bronze..ans to even qualify for Olympics you have to be the best in the world and then to recah the finals is the best feelin and winnin gold is just awesome but i beleve iwnnin any medal at olympic is trh greatest achivement and it fulfills thr career of an athlete.

  14. I'm Jamaican; the commentator's accent sounds partly Jamaican. It's not Jamaican; it's very close though. (Maybe it's from a different Caribbean country)

  15. 现在中国社会成熟更多更宽容,希望不要再捧杀任何运动员,感谢每一位为国征战的运动员,无论成绩好坏,你们都是英雄。

  16. I remember when he got hurt I was so disappointed (not in him but FOR him). Injuries always ruin great moments. He was one of my favorite athletes and being asian myself I looked up to him when I did track in high school. I was the only asian guy who did the 800m and 1600m. Although my PR is pretty average he still motivated me to do it because why? People don't expect asians to be fast but we do have fast people. I had plenty of friends faster than me who did not do track…

    My PR times for those wondering:
    1600m = 5min 27 seconds
    800m = 2mins 20 seconds

  17. China’s athletics is totally fucked, kids get plucked from their homes at a very young age and get taken to a facilities far away where they go thru adult-style training, everything good that comes with sports is taken away by the Chinese

  18. Asian culture and mentality is they only remember the failures and not the successes. This is bad. He won Olympic Gold…..he already reached the highest peak one can reach in the sport.

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