China Daily has published the results of a survey asking people what they most wished for from the Olympics (as picked up by China Digital Times). Top of the pile was to be there to see Liu Xiang retain his gold medal in the 110m hurdles final. It seems Mr Liu may have more pressure on him than even the organising committee when The Games roll around.
He has dealt tremendously well with the pressure so far, and claims to revel in it, though the news that he would be training in isolation has prompted speculation over the effects of this pressure. Comparisons are clearly drawn with the jubilant success of Cathy Freeman in 2000 and the farcical drama of Konstantinos Kenteris 4 years later, both in front of expectant home crowds. While american sports blog FanNation fails to name a single US athlete who has ever “garnered the kind of attention that Liu Xiang, China’s 110-meter hurdlers star, will have to contend with in China over the next year”.
Apparently the survey included participants from 49 countries, though the answers do seem to be particularly Chinese-focused.
Other survey results in the China Daily report are less interesting, and fit more into the paper’s standard role of pro-Party organ grinding.