Chinese Olympic 110m hurdles champion Liu Xiang called his retirement sad and painful but that he had no other choice in a Weibo post to 32 million followers Tuesday.
Liu, now 31, became the first Chinese men’s track and field gold medalist at Athens 2004. He hasn’t competed since an Achilles injury derailed him for a second straight Olympics at London 2012, the injury still plaguing him.
In the 1,400-word Weibo post, Liu said he was ”truly unwell and old and can no longer run and jump with you. Although it’s sad, although it’s painful, I really have no other choice,” according to track and field’s international governing body.
“My foot told me no again and again, and there was no way it was going to be able to handle intense training and competition. I hate my foot, I love my track and my hurdles so much, and if I hadn’t injured my foot … but then there are no ifs in this world. I injured myself, and can only accept it silently.”
The post was titled, “My Track, My Hurdle,” according to an Associated Press translation.
Liu’s Achilles injury also took him out during heats at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, where he was arguably the biggest star going into those Games. The 2015 World Championships will be at the same revered venue, the Bird’s Nest stadium.
“Though I still have hot blood pumping through my heart, my leg has time and again told me no,” Liu said, according to Reuters.