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Liu Xiang leaps into new history text
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Liu Xiang leaps into new history text

A photo of former Olympic champion Liu Xiang during his crowning moment at the Athens Olympics has been included in a newly published "Chinese History" textbook for junior middle school students.

The textbook, published by the East China Normal University in Liu's hometown of Shanghai, where he is pursuing his Masters and Doctors degrees in sports administration, features the star's photo in chapter 20, Culture, Arts and Sports.

Its caption reads: "At the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, Liu claimed the gold medal of the men's 110m hurdles and broke the Olympic record. It was the first gold medal for either Chinese or even Asian runners in sprinting events at the Olympic Games."

In Athens, Liu won in a time of 12.91 seconds, breaking the Olympic record of 12.95 and equaling the then world record.

On the same page of the school book, another photo shows China's long distance star Wang Junxia winning the women's 5000m gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

Wang also claimed silver in the women's 10,000m. Her gold was the first for Chinese women's long distance runners at the Olympic Games.

The latest publication is the second time Liu's story has been included in a textbook.

In 2005, a news story about his victory at the Athens Olympics was added to a Chinese textbook for fifth grade primary school students in Shanghai.

As the first "living hero" included in a textbook in China, the first publication sparked much debate.

Currently recovering from a severe foot injury, Liu has seldom appeared in public over the past 10 months.

His sudden appearance in education materials has prompted a new round of conjecture by netizens.

But, according to the Chongqing Morning Post, editors of the textbook say the inclusion of sports stars like Liu in textbooks helps arouse the interests of students.

(China Daily July 7, 2009)

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