Liu Xiang’s thriller caps exciting evening in Shanghai – Golden Grand Prix report

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Another nice article about Liu Xiang from Mary Nicole Nazzaro of the IAAF website:

The combination of world-class fields, clear skies and pleasant temperatures, and a thrilling victory by the city’s most famous son, Liu Xiang, worked perfectly to make the second annual Shanghai Golden Grand Prix a great success at Shanghai Stadium on Saturday (23) evening.

Liu overcomes slow start to capture thriller over Johnson

Themarquee matchup was of course the men’s 110m Hurdles, and Liu Xiang issending the message over and over to his rivals that he is just aboutunbeatable when he runs in China. Despite the absence of AmericansDominique Arnold and Terrence Trammell, the race lived up to itsexpectations as a continuation of the classic rivalry between Liu and35-year-old veteran Allen Johnson of the U.S.

After a slowresponse to the starter’s fast gun – a 0.201 reaction time – Liu playedcatch-up with Johnson, his friendly rival who unexpectedly got thebetter of him last week in Athens. Liu caught Johnson by the ninthhurdle and by the time he cleared number ten, he was out in front. Liuclocked 13.07, just 0.02 seconds slower than his stadium-record 13.05set in last year’s meet, to Johnson’s 13.09. The rest of the field wasfar behind these two Olympic gold medallists: third place went to AriesMerritt of the U.S. in 13.34. As expected, Liu was swarmed byphotographers after the race and did a live television interview on thetrack that was broadcast nationwide directly following his victory. Thehero of Chinese track and field had delivered once again in front ofhis hometown crowd.

Afterwards, Liu was whisked away from themixed zone without offering comments to the assembled media. He leftthe media show to Johnson, who answered “Sure!” with a smile when askedif he would like to run against Liu again in the future. Asked whetherhe slowed down on purpose at the end to give Liu the win, Johnson justsmiled again and said “No…Liu Xiang’s a great competitor.” WhetherJohnson can put another two years on his legs to make it to anotherOlympics in 2008 remains to be seen, but his friendly rivalry with Liuand his tremendous sportsmanship should make as many headlines as Liu’sutter dominance in the hurdles when the address of the competitionstadium is anywhere inside the boundaries of the People’s Republic ofChina.

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Mike Young

Mike Young

Founder of ELITETRACK at Athletic Lab
Mike has a BS in Exercise Physiology from Ohio University, an MSS in Coaching Science from Ohio University & a PhD in Biomechanics from LSU. Additionally, he has been recognized as a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) from the National Strength & Conditioning Association, a Level 3 coach by USA Track & Field, a Level 2 coach by USA Weightlifting.
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