Liu Xiang won the gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens in the 110m hurdles event.
Full name: Liu Xiang
Date of birth: July, 1983
Place of birth: Shanghai
Events: 110m hurdles
Liu Xiang's 2004 Olympic gold medal was the first in a men's track and field event for China, or any Asian country, for that matter. He is the first Chinese athlete to achieve the "triple crown" of athletics: World Record Holder, World Champion and Olympic Champion.
Liu Xiang won the gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens in the 110m hurdles event, equaling Colin Jackson's 1993 world record of 12.91 seconds. Liu became just the sixth man to post a time under 13 seconds for this event.
Liu said that his performance, which brought China its first men's Olympic gold medal in track and field, "changes the opinion that Asian countries don't get good results in sprint races. I want to prove to all the world that Asians can run very fast." In his comments, Liu gave voice to his country's cultural stereotype, which judging from editorial comments in Chinese newspapers, he was not alone in believing. "I am a Chinese," he said, "and considering the physiology of the Chinese people, it is something unbelievable."
Liu set a new world record in the 110m hurdles, at the Super Grand Prix in Lausanne on July 11, 2006, with a time of 12.88 seconds (+1.1 m/s tailwind). The record was ratified by the IAAF.
On August 31, 2007, at the World Athletics Championships in Osaka, Japan, Liu won gold in the 110m hurdles with 12.95 seconds to become the World Champion for the first time.
Leading up to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, Liu bore national expectations of a repeat victory on home soil. China deemed another gold medal from Liu essential for a successful Olympics. On August 18, Liu withdrew from the Olympic 110m hurdles event. He walked off the track after a false start by another runner in his first-round heat, leaving the crowd at the Beijing National Stadium in stunned silence, confusion and tears.
On August 18, 2008, Liu withdrew from the Olympic 110m hurdles event due to a recurrence of chronic inflammation in his right Achilles tendon.
According to China's track and field association, Liu suffered from a recurrence of chronic inflammation in his right Achilles tendon. Liu made a public apology to the Chinese media the following day, saying he could "do nothing but pull out of the race" because of his foot injury. He made a vow to make a comeback for the next Olympics.
Liu underwent a foot surgery in December in 2008 at the Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center in Houston, and had four calcium deposits removed from his right Achilles tendon. However, despite the successful surgery, Liu's comeback is still uncertain.
Gold 2004 Athens 110m hurdles
Gold 2007 Osaka 110m hurdles
Silver 2005 Helsinki 110m hurdles
Bronze 2003 Paris 110m hurdles
World Indoor Championships
Gold 2008 Valencia 60m hurdles
Silver 2004 Budapest 60m hurdles
Bronze 2003 Birmingham 60m hurdles
Gold 2002 Busan 110m hurdles
Gold 2006 Doha 110m hurdles
(China.org.cn September 11, 2009)