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Andrea Harner
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August 19, 2008

Some Hurdles Are Too High by Thomas Boswell, Washington Post

My dad sent me this interesting article on the Olympics and China, which I have excerpted here:

Think of Liu another way: At these Games, Liu is China. How it got that way we Westerners may only guess.

But it is unlikely we will ever see an athlete in greater emotional pain, or a country that takes a loss more personally, or a cast of trainers and coaches who feel more devastated.

"Liu Xiang will not withdraw unless the pain is intolerable, unless he has no other way out," said China's national team coach Feng Shuyong. Liu's coach, Sun Haiping, broke down sobbing several times at a news conference.

Time will tell whether Liu and his coaches truly thought that he had any hope of racing on Monday. What's certain is that, whatever his condition and whenever his injury occurred, Liu absolutely had to make an appearance to prove -- by falling down, by attempting a restart after it was clear he could never clear the first hurdle, by kicking a wall in anger numerous times -- that he was really hurt.

This, remember, is a country that, for generations, has seldom known what was real and what was propaganda, which of the missing were alive or dead, what official stories were true and which complete fabrications.

Even after Liu's photo gallery full of misery was on view, large numbers of Chinese -- on Internet sites and in media samplings -- felt more anger than sadness. Some said he should have crawled around the track rather than walk off.

And A-Rod thinks playing for the Yankees is tough.

If Phelps, who slipped and broke his wrist last winter, had gotten hurt and never swam here, it would have stunned and saddened America. Few would have been angry.

But this is a nation so obsessed with making an impression, and not embarrassing itself, that it has a government department dedicated to controlling the weather during the Olympics -- and it may actually be working. Military-complex security has shielded the Games from demonstrators. Every food stand is triple-staffed, every media center double-sized and, many times, a single reporter rides in a bus with 31 empty seats. For hospitality and efficiency, China has super-sized it all.

Continue reading...



Comments

I'm in China right now for work. It's not actually as bad as it seems in this article. The deal is that Liu brags a lot. Like when he won the gold last time, he said something like "They say asians aren't good at track and field, that's not true, cause Asia has me!" Lol..

And now Liu's face is plastered everywhere on billboards, in magazines, on buses. He obviously cashed in. And then he doesn't perform. I think thats the deal with the anger.

You know how Phelps gets so much media time in these Olympics. That's basically Liu here the last few years. Phelps has kept out of the spotlight the last four years.

But yeah, media likes to bash on Chinese people. Being half, it makes it hard for me trying to find that line between empathizing with Western ideals, and trying to come to terms with what is true or not true.

But its always been like that, Japan gets all the good praise (well deserved) and China.. well.. we're the sick man of the east? Hm..

Posted by: Des at August 19, 2008 8:00 PM
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