I missed this back in early June, but Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang was in Oregon at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene. From the Associated Presss article “Liu Xiang wins in 12.87 seconds” (here):
Liu Xiang lunged across the finish line and quickly looked up to his left at the giant scoreboard.
Then, he impatiently waited.
A split second later -- only it felt like an eternity -- the board flashed Liu's time in big, white characters -- 12.87 seconds.
That sent the 110-meter hurdler from China straight into euphoria as he thrust his fist into the air before dancing and skipping around the track with unbridled exuberance.
Sure, there was the excitement from holding off a star-studded field to get the win at the Prefontaine Classic on Saturday. But there also was that glittering time on the scoreboard.
Maybe at first he thought he had tied the world record, but it turned out to be wind-aided by a slight margin. So the world mark set by Cuba's Dayron Robles remains safe for now.
Long after the race was finished -- and after Liu did a celebratory lap around the track to high-five anyone with an extended hand -- he was asked if he ever thought about breaking world records.
"No. I never think about that," Liu said through a translator. "I think I can run that fast. I'm ready for that."
Liu once held the world mark when he finished in 12.88 seconds during a race in July 2006. Nearly two years later -- just before the 2008 Beijing Olympics -- Robles took the record.
And there it has stood……