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Sprinting hero clears up distortion in autobiography
Updated: 2004-11-29 13:51

Olympic gold medalist Liu Xiang released his autobiography in the city yesterday hoping to clear up distortions printed in various unauthorized biographies since he became a track and field hero this summer.

Liu Xiang [second R] and his coach Sun Haiping [Second L], flanked by his parents, pose at a press conference to promote the release of his autobiography yesterday. [Imaginechina]
The book, entitled "I am Liu Xiang," explores the star hurdler's private life, from his first love to the passion for singing karaoke, and the untold stories behind his huge success at the Olympics.

Liu clocked a world record equaling 12.91 seconds to win gold in the 110-meter hurdles in Athens.

The book was written by two local journalists and Liu promises he will donate all the money he makes from it to charity.

Haunted by many distorted descriptions in various unauthorized biographies, Liu said his book is intended to be a clarification.

"Most of the books that hit the stands in the past few months were written by people who have never interviewed Liu," said Sun Haiping, Liu's coach. "We hope this book will satisfy people's curiosity about him and provide a fair portrait."

The publisher of the book originally planned a signing session at Shanghai Book City on Fuzhou Road but dropped the idea at the last minute over security concerns.

Ever since his success in Athens, the 21-year-old Shanghai native has become a superstar in China, but fame has come at a price.

Fake merchandise, from jerseys to caps, bearing his image has flooded the market and a few commercial disputes have already emerged, putting him in a negative light.

He's drawn criticism over his appearance in TV and print ads promoting a Hunan-based tobacco group.

"He doesn't have a professional personal manager, which is the core of the problem," said an unnamed source close to the sprinting hero. "All his business affairs have been taken care of by the State General Sports Administration. He needs a practitioner, not a governmental body, to oversee all these."

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