One of Asia’s greatest-ever athletes was born on this day, 33 years ago. Xiang is a true groundbreaker, his triumph at Athens 2004 in the 110-metre hurdles setting both an Olympic record time of 12.91 seconds and making him China’s first gold medallist in Olympic track and field events.
He set out with the self-professed mission that “I want to prove to all the world that Asians can run very fast” and there is no doubt he achieved this.
The Shanghai-native is also the only male athlete in history to have achieved the ‘triple crown’ in his favoured event of being the world record holder, world champion and Olympic champion.
Sadly for Xiang, injuries curtailed his ambitions of standing top of the podium at Beijing 2008 and London 2012. Nevertheless, he retired in April 2015 as a true legend of the hurdles.
Here’s who else is celebrating:
1956: Michael Spinks, American two-weight world champion boxer and 1976 Olympic gold medallist (60).
1974: Jarno Trulli, Italian former Formula One driver who won one race and claimed 11 podium finishes (42).
1979: Craig Bellamy, former Wales, Manchester City, Liverpool and Newcastle United striker (37).
1985: Guillermo Ochoa, goalkeeper who plays for Malaga and has 75 caps for Mexico (31).