…As Liu Xiang’s Shanghai teammate, Zhang Chong, found out when he got a little too overexcited by a good finish at the National Games and tried to convey that with a little man-on-man touching. According to China Hush:
On the night of the incident, at around 18:30, Zhang Chong ran in the National Games men’s 400-meter hurdles final and won fifth place with the time of 51’63”. For a young athlete debuting in national games for the first time, Zhang Chong was still very excited after the game. After leaving the venue, Zhang Chong returned to Jinan Olympic athletes warm-up field where Liu Xiang was warming up on the runway.
After he saw Liu Xiang, Zhang Chong was still excited from the race and hugged Liu Xiang from behind. From the video, it looks as if Zhang Chong whispered in Liu Xiang’s ear. According to reporter later who contacted Chong, “Zhang Chong later told me that because he just finished his race, he felt completely relaxed and happy, so he was very excited to hug Liu Xiang and convey his feelings to his ‘brother’”.
Irritated with the sudden touching, Liu Xiang scrambled free of his teammate’s arms and may have exclaimed something like “mental case!” (or so say the expert lip readers of the internet). Since the two have had a pretty good relationship up to this point – and guy-hugs, even ones as affectionate as Zhang Chong’s, are way more commonplace here than in the West, Liu Xiang’s reaction startled everyone.
Netizens have theorized that Liu Xiang was in the zone while warming up, the hug snapped him out, and he pulled a minor Christian Bale. A slightly juicier speculation: Liu Xiang is a major germophobe, takes three showers a day, follows people cleaning after them and was therefore completely icked out by the unexpected touching.
If that’s the case, we wonder how he felt in Jinan, when he stripped off his jersey and threw it into a crowd after winning his third national 110 meter hurdle title. Fans then descended upon it, ripping it into shreds. While we’re not ones to make fun of people with OCD, it does kind of make us giggle thinking of him secretly wincing on the inside, trying to stop the urge to go up to the stands to clean them up after the crowds have left.
Check out the video of the incident right after the jump.