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.Continue reading...
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.