Sometimes there's tragedy and triumph in competition, but international camaraderie is what the Games are all about. All of these themes, however, played out in a period of 2 minutes during the mens 110m hurdles this week.
China’s Liu Xiang had previously won the gold medal for 110m Hurdles in 2004 but was sidelined by an Achilles tendon injury in 2008. Returning to the Olympics this year, his hopes for gold were dashed when the injury returned. But this time, Liu relied on the help of his competitors to help him finish the race.
It's agonizing yet remarkably inspiring to watch:
ESPN has the details:
When Liu got to where the 10th and final hurdle stood, he went over to it, leaned forward and kissed the piece of equipment. After finally making it across the finish line on that left leg, long after the race was over, he was greeted by another hurdler, Balazs Baji of Hungary, who went over and raised Liu's hand in the air, as if to signify he was the winner.
"I respect him. I like him," said Baji, fifth in their heat. "It must be really bad for him. I'm really sorry. I didn't say anything. I just couldn't say anything."
Other competitors went over to offer handshakes of condolences, before Britain's Andrew Turner and Spain's Jackson Quinonez helped Liu into a waiting wheelchair so he could be taken away from the track.
"I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy," said Turner, who won their heat in 13.42 seconds. "I rate him as one of the best hurdlers we've had in the world ever. I don't like to see that kind of thing."