NPR logo

NPR's Frank Langfitt on a Chinese hurdler's disappointment on 'Morning Edition'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/93687341/93687292" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
China's Champion Hurdler Pulls Out Of Race

China's Champion Hurdler Pulls Out Of Race

NPR's Frank Langfitt on a Chinese hurdler's disappointment on 'Morning Edition'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/93687341/93687292" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

China's Liu Xiang withdraws from the first round of the men's 110-meter hurdles at the Bird's Nest National Stadium during the Beijing Olympics. Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

China's Liu Xiang withdraws from the first round of the men's 110-meter hurdles at the Bird's Nest National Stadium during the Beijing Olympics.

Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

Reporter's Notebook

China's single greatest hope for the Olympics is over. The highlight of the games was supposed to be hurdler Liu Xiang defending his gold medal on home soil. But Liu suddenly dropped out of the qualifying heats after an injury. His surprise exit left fans stunned and tearful.

He had entered the Bird's Nest to a hero's welcome. But as he crouched down in the starting blocks, he was clearly in trouble. He grabbed his knee and grimaced.

When the gun went off, for the 110-meter hurdles, he limped out of the blocks. It was a false start. But it was obvious Liu was hurt. Then, before the next start, he walked out of the stadium.

At a news conference later, Chinese coaches were in tears.

They said Liu had reaggravated an old injury to his right foot and Achilles tendon.

Feng Sha Yong, general coach of China's athletic team, said Liu was devastated. He also noted that Liu had a lot to live up to as one of China's top Olympic stars.

We no longer support commenting on NPR.org stories, but you can find us every day on Facebook, Twitter, email, and many other platforms. Learn more or contact us.