Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bizarre Olympic Moment - Day 13

Each day of the 2008 Olympics we're going to find a bizarre clip or story from a past Summer Olympics. Today we'll look at Chinese sprinter Liu Changchun.

We're all witnessing China dominate all other countries in the 2008 Olympics. Their 42 golds are more than the second place America and surprise third place Britain have combined. It looks like China will come away from the 2008 Games with one of the largest margins for victory a country has ever captured.
(If you want some more info on medal counts check this out from the NY Times)

With China's success it's a perfect time to check out a bizarre Olympic moment from China's past ... which also happens to be their first Olympic moment.

In 1932, China had never competed in a single Olympics, but the Los Angeles Olympic organisers thought that with a population as big as China's they may be interested in participating and sent them an invitation. The Chinese sent back an enthusiastic acceptance and said they would be sending a team ... it was a very historic event.

When the 'team' arrived organisers realised it was only one man, Liu Changchun ... in a country of over 500 million people only one was interested in participating in the Olympics.

He arrived only three days before the start of the Games after almost a month of travelling from Shanghai to Los Angeles. He was out of shape (as he could not properly train on the ship) and unable to speak even a single word of english. The organisers found a translator and discovered Changchun wanted to sign up in the 100-meter, 200-meter and 400-meter track events.

In both the 100-meter and 200-meter events he finished in dead last in the preliminary rounds and was eliminated from the competition. He was so exhausted after his trip and earlier races that he dropped out of the 400-meter race. The trip that took almost a month to start, ended in approximately 40 seconds. Here's a clip of Changchun at full speed:

If you are upset that China is looking like the new powerhouse in the Olympic medal standings -- America, we're looking in your direction --at least you know that there was an Olympics where China finished dead last.

(Information for this article was taken from The Independant and China Culture)

Take a look at the 16 most bizarre Olympic moments in history:

Day 1 - Eric "The Eel" Moussambani
Day 2 - Betty Robinson
Day 3 - Sally Robbins
Day 4 - Abebe Bilkila
Day 5 - 1972 USA Basketball team
Day 6 - Bobby Pearce
Day 7 - Byun Jong-il
Day 8 - Stella Walsh
Day 9 - Spanish Paralympic Basketball Team
Day 10 - Ingeborg Marx
Day 11 - Vanderlei de Lima
Day 12 - Hans-Jurgen Todt
Day 13 - Liu Changchun
Day 14 - Dorando Pietri
Day 15 - 1956 Hungarian Water Polo Team
Day 16 - 1960 Tunisian Modern Pentathlon Team

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