In one lane, out the other: Shanghai Golden Grand Prix's revolving door of competitors

In one lane, out the other: Shanghai Golden Grand Prix's revolving door of competitors

Usain Bolt withdraws from this weekend's meet but local hero Liu Xiang rings in a surprise
Shanghai Goldren Grand Prix
Without the possibillity of some more world record breaking heroics from Bolt, the Shanghai crowd will have to find something else to cheer about.

After much hemming, hawing and downplaying of expectations, Shanghai Golden Grand Prix headliner Usain Bolt has pulled out of the competition.

"I have been suffering from fatigue from as early as the Zurich Meet and after careful discussions with my coach and management team, even with medical advice, we felt it necessary to close the season [early],” the sprinter said in a statement released by the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix.

"The season has been long and has been challenging with early challenges I faced. In addition the risk of injury becomes greater and if I compete in the shape I am in, I may be at great risk. I know the Chinese fans will be disappointed, but I beg your understanding as I return home to rest and be prepared for next year's exploits. I thank all of you for your support and I look forward to coming to China next year."

Although fans were undoubtedly disappointed by the loss of such a big name, Bolt’s withdrawal was quickly followed by an even bigger announcement that national icon (and Nike spokesman) Liu Xiang has recovered from injury and will be competing.

Liu had foot surgery and missed last month's world champs but he’s been given medical clearance and will run this weekend.

With the hurdler coming off an injury, the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix organizers stressed that winning isn't everything. They “appealed to Liu’s fans to give their encouragement but not focus too much on the final result.” If someone had said that before the Olympics, who knows, maybe Liu would been on the ticket from day one.

Liu’s entry into the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix isn’t exactly an act of altruism. This is the part of his lead up to the Asian Athletics Championships in November and December's East Asian Games.

Shanghai Golden Grand Prix

Sept. 20 at Shanghai Stadium
1111 Caoxi Bei Lu, near Tianyao Qiao Lu 漕溪北路1111号, 近天钥桥路
RMB 60-1,380