Just a quick observation from my trip to Macau.

Twenty days from now, when the Olympics kick off, you’ll be hearing a lot about hurdler Liu Xiang. Some people might remember him from the 2004 Olympics in Athens, where he surprised the world with a gold medal performance in the 110 meter hurdles. But he’ll be a mystery to many Americans watching the Olympics next month.

Just how popular is he in China? Is there a comparable athlete in the U.S.? When I passed the Nike store at The Venetian, I saw Liu Xiang’s picture adorn one window.

Liu Xiang

The other athlete the Nike store chose to feature at the opposite window? Kobe.


I think the placement of the two pictures shows just where Liu Xiang ranks in the national psyche here. One big difference, though: Liu Xiang doesn’t have many (if any) haters, he won’t have any hecklers yelling “rapist” at him when he’s on the track.