China denies scripting Liu Xiang's dramatic Olympic moment
Washington, Aug 25 (ANI): The Chinese government have denied orchestrating one of the most dramatic moments at the London Olympics, right down to the tears where state-television anchors cried on air.
A collective gasp was heard across China when its national hero, the track-and-field star Liu Xiang, hit the first hurdle in the men's 110-meter race.
As Xiang crumbled to the ground, anchors on China's Central Television, which carried the event live, froze.
And then, as if on cue, CCTV's lead anchor, Yang Jian, began to speak as best he could. At times choked up, he called Xiang a "soldier" who bravely "charged the enemy's fortress with his own body."
Now widespread reports in Chinese media claim that Yang knew full well that Liu had a serious injury before the race and, following government orders, had prepared four different versions of "live reaction" to read on air, depending on Xiang's performance, ABC News reported.
A headline this week in the Oriental Guardian read, "Liu Xiang knew, CCTV knew and leaders knew - only spectators foolishly waited to witness a moment of miracle."
The government was aware that Xiang had hurt his right Achilles (the same injury that kept him from competing at the Beijing Games in 2008) while training in Germany, according to the South China Morning Post.
Xiang had it checked in London after he arrived and was told it was serious. But soon after the government issued a gag order on state television.
The Chinese government arguably had a vested interest in maintaining Xiang's superstar status. China's sports authority gets a cut of everything he makes in endorsements.
Liu earned 25 million dollars in 2008, according to Forbes magazine. His endorsement deals include Nike, BMW and more.
China's sports authority has denied that it knowingly let him run with a potentially career-ending injury.
Feng Shuyong, China's athletic director for London 2012, said that, "if we could have predicted he would be injured, no one would have let Liu run."
In Shanghai Thursday, Xiang also defended his race, telling CCTV, "I didn't expect the injury to happen. I think I was healthy when I was standing on the field."
Choreographed or not, Xiang practically had all of China in tears after his fall.
In clear pain, he hopped toward the finish line, pausing only to kiss the final hurdle. He left the stadium in a wheelchair. (ANI)
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