Yesterday morning as I was cycling I decided to watch the Olympics. The preliminary 11o meter hurdles came on and so did a story about China’s Liu Xiang. Eight years ago in Athens Liu won the 110 meter hurdle race. In Beijing Liu blew out his Achilles after just a few steps and after a long recovery to that he could come to the London Olympics has seemingly blew out his Achilles again. It was really sad to watch.
NBC showed the tape of this sad event over and over. As they showed the frontal view of Liu’s fall the thing that was really apparent to me is how the look on Liu’s face changed. As he came out of the starting blocks he had a determined and tenacious look but as he approaches that first hurdle his look changed to fear. A split second after his face changed to fear he attempted to go over the first hurdle and didn’t make it. There was definitely something going through Liu’s head as he approached that first hurdle.
Initially after his fall it was apparent that Liu was embarrassed about what had happened. There is even speculation that he was so embarrassed that he faked his injury. There is no way to know if this is the case. Regardless, there is a better way to deal with lack of confidence, fear and stress. These things are hard to deal with at any level of competition but hell these are the Olympics. Nerves must run really high for a lot of athletes and if they haven’t had an opportunity to develop a mental training to deal with these obstacles, they are going to pop up and usually at the most inappropriate time.
Photo credit: dailymail.co.uk