Headline in the Oriental Morning Post: “Liu Xiang knew. CCTV knew. The leaders knew. It was just the audience waiting like fools for the miraculous moment.”
When Liu Xiang crashed and burned at the 110m hurdles prelims at the London Olympics, CCTV’s narrator Yang Jian was also remembered for his emotional narration which was delivered in an almost weeping tone. He said then:
“…Liu Xiang was like a warrior. He flew when he clearly knew that he could not reach the end. It reminded me of his victory in 2004. He is a 29-year-old veteran and should take a rest now. Thank Liu Xiang for the glory he has been bringing us…”
All that now appears to have been carefully scripted before the race even began. Sha Tong, head of CCTV’s Olympic narration team, has made the revelation that Yang Jian had known the severity of Liu Xiang’s injury beforehand.
Yang reported the situation to Sha Tong immediately, and Sha reported it to Li Ting, CCTV’s deputy editor in chief. Yang then prepared four versions of possible narrations for Liu Xiang’s exit.
An insider told the Oriental Guardian that Liu Xiang had not been fully recovered from his injury. After he was ordered by the authority to “try his best to win a gold,” he intensified his training and therefore worsened his injury. He had been receiving treatment when he was training in Germany before going to London.
The picture given by this insider appeared to jive with that given by a Chinese journalist reporting from London. The Chinese delegate team, it was said, had suggested recommended to a top government leader to give Liu Xiang’s race a miss, according to the Chongqing Times.
During the press conference held after Liu’s exit, Feng Shuyong, deputy director of Chinese State Sports General Administration Bureau Track & Field Center, said, “Had we known Liu Xiang’s injury, we would have prevented him from taking part and we would never have forced Liu to take part. Our first principle is to protect athletes.”
Meanwhile, Dong Rina, CCTV’s correspondent at London Bowl who had been covering Liu Xiang for years and another reporter from Xinhua News Agency both reported that Liu Xiang received two numbing injections right before the race, but this has been vigorously denied and dismissed as rumors by Feng Shuyong, head coach of the Chinese athletic team.