Healthline Connects
Healthline Connects

Achilles Tendon Injury Fells China's Hero Liu Xiang


While the US is riding high on the stunning achievements of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, China's 1.3 billion fans are mourning a fallen hero, Liu Xiang. Liu, 25 years old, won gold in the 2004 Athens Olympics, the first Asian to win the 110 m hurdles sprint. Since winning, he has become a superstar in China.

In obvious pain during warm-ups on August 18, 2008, he was unable to participate in the competition due to hamstring injuries and achilles tendon injury in his right foot. The achilles tendon is a broad band of ligamentous tissue that attaches the calf muscle to the bone and allows the foot to flex. The tendon is what gives us the ability to push off of the foot while running or walking.

In Greek mythology, Achilles was the most handsome, swiftest warrior engaged in the battle against Troy. He was made immortal by being dipped in the River Styx, making his body impervious to wounds, except that the goddess Thetis forget about the heel where she held him. So in battle, when an arrow shot him in the heel, he died. His vulnerable spot became immortalized as
Achilles heel.

All of China is saddened by the injury of their hero. Dr Feng Shu Yong, the Chinese Athletics Association Team leader, confirmed that Xiang’s withdrawal was caused by the accumulation of two separate injuries: a hamstring injury which he suffered in May 2008 and a chronic right foot injury which has plagued him for seven years. Dr. Feng reports that the pain in Liu's heel was so intense that he was unable to stand and was shivering. Today, one of the world's greatest athletes is struggling with depression, pain and defeat. We offer our condolences and the balm of time passing.


Thank you Jingye for use of photo of poster of Liu Xiang at the Beijing Olympics.
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