Injured hurdler Liu Xiang has written a letter to the people of China and his supporters worldwide, which was posted on Chinese national track and field coach Feng Shuyong’s (冯树勇) blog yesterday. Below is a translation of Feng’s post:
I have already been in touch with Liu Xiang several times since he pulled out of the race as an absolute last resort. Right now as far as Liu Xiang is concerned, he needs to get back to normal as soon as possible, he needs to fully recover from his foot injury. Now via my blog, I will relay Liu Xiang’s feelings.
To all the people who care about and support me:
I am thankful for all understanding and support the people who care about me have given me. At this moment in time I feel sad for all the people who are still disappointed at my pulling out of the race.
On July 13, 2001, the date that Beijing won its bid for the Olympics, it was also my 18th birthday. This intertwined the joy of my birthday celebration and the joy of the successful bid. Although I was an unknown athlete back then, the dream of every athlete was to participate in the Beijing Olympics. I’ve been putting in everything I’ve got toward this goal.
At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, I realized my dream of being an Olympic champion. From that moment onward, my unshakeable goal has been to defend my Olympic title in my own motherland. I’ve always enjoyed facing challenges and have never been willing to accept defeat – this is just the way I am. As a matter of fact, when I stepped onto Greek soil, I was very confident in myself.
As I won more and more championships and more people began to pay attention to me and give me support, I also endured growing pressure and puzzlement in my life. I am unable to relax and party without restraint like other people my age. I also can feel the expectations of the entire country at any moment.
I know that everyone was eagerly anticipating my performance yesterday [August 18] – I also wanted to fight to the finish, as you’ve all see me do before. But it’s truly my foot… please believe that nobody is feeling more sadness and pain than me. At the same time, please believe that I’m the same Liu Xiang I’ve always been.
Innumerable friends sent me text messages and called me after seeing me get injured and walk off the track. I am sincerely thankful for the friends that understand, support and encourage me. I would also like to thank all the Chinese people, who in these years have given me tremendous support and credit.
I believe I still possess great strength. You all will see a Liu Xiang that runs even faster.