At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China put on a breathtaking show that made its country proud.
But like a rock star who screams the wrong city he is playing in, the Chinese may be taking a deep sigh today.
In what can be best described as a spectacle, a 110-meter hurdle qualifying race at the Chinese University Games may forever mark how the world will remember China during the 2012 Olympics.
If a picture were worth a thousand words, the YouTube video of a rogue Chinese competitor blasting his way through hurdles is worth a thousand laughs.
No matter how much progress China makes, no matter how many medals China takes, the world will forever recall the time when a young man ran as fast as he could, annihilating hurdles and himself, en route to nearly destroying his opponent’s chances to qualify for greatness.
In all my years watching the Olympics, I have never seen an individual such as this hurdler have such disdain for both hurdles and his own safety.
I mean, has anyone ever run full speed into a hurdle? It hurts!
I used to run hurdles. Every time I jumped I prayed my face did not smack the track.
But not this guy. It was as if he were on a mission to nowhere—fast.
Of course, his time would have certainly been slowed if he had only, you know, jumped. After all, it was the 110-meter “hurdles.”
But this runner did not get that memo.
He apparently thought it was a straight sprint, at least until he realized he could not compete by jumping the hurdles, as intended.
The look on his foe's face was priceless.
It was half relief, half “what the hell just happened?”
Of course Cold War hawks will chuckle at this bad publicity for China.
Yet at the end of the day, regular everyday folks will see it as just good, fun entertainment.
And for those having a bad day, it is a certain game changer.
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