Chinese Olympic champion Liu Xiang retires

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Athens Olympic champion hurdler Liu Xiang stumbles in a premilinary for the 110-meter hurdles at the London Olympics on Aug 7,2012. [Photo/Xinhua]

Liu Xiang, China's first ever men's Olympic athletics champion, announced retirement on Tuesday, over two years after pulling out of the Olympic Games for the second time.

Chinese couldn't help comparing Liu Xiang with Li Na, a twice grand slam winner of tennis, who retired last September.

A blogger named "sorry, I'm not a good guy" seems annoyed by Liu Xiang's belated retirement, posting: "When Li Na feels she can't play in shape, she retires. She isn't like Liu Xiang -- setting off a couple of steps and then saying I can't run for I'm not feeling good."

Liu pulled out of Beijing Olympics in agony, claiming an Archilles tendon injury. Four years later in London Olympics, Liu Xiang quit again citing similar foot problem.

Liu Xiang didn't run any races for more than 900 days since London Olympics.

Another blogger named "Athena" said Liu Xiang remained as "an active athlete only for money."

Reports said that Liu Xiang's announcement was perfectly timed. He received a batch of commercial sponsorships right after Athens Olympics, with all of them expiring at the end of last year. If he had retired earlier, Liu would have been penalized, according to media reports.

Quite a few people remain loyal to the hurdler. "Don't throw mud at Liu Xiang. He is a hero. He is the one and only in Chinese sports," said a blogger named "Crazy".

Liu Xiang's coach Sun Haiping defended his retirement arrangement. "We have been observing him for a long time. We have to make sure his foot injury can't stand any more Olympic competition."

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