If you search Liu Xiang on the Internet, you will see lots of pictures of her taken beside a swimming pool. She is characterized by her statement: “Whoever loves me or hates me, please continue your way because I will stick to my own way.” On social media, she has over one million followers. Apart from high popularity on the Internet, this 23-year-old student from SCNU is a rising star in swimming of the recent five years. Within such a short time, she has won four gold medals, one for the 50 meter backstroke at the 2014 national swimming championships, two for the 50 meter free style at the 2015 and 2017 national swimming championships and the another at the 50 meter backstroke at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games.


Switching from 50 meter backstroke to 50 meter free style

Liu Xiang enrolled at the School of Physical Education & Sports Science, SCNU in 2015. In the same year, she won a bronze medal for the 50 meter backstroke at the World Swimming Championships. After that, in the preparation for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, she decided to switch from 50 meter backstroke to 50 meter free style. The reason for the switching was that there was no 50 meter backstroke competition at Olympic Games. So she should either participate in the 100 meter backstroke competition or switch to other competitions, and she chose the latter. From then on, she was faced with great challenges in practicing 50 meter free style. She had to repeat one single stroke again and again as many as more than 20 times a day. Her coach said that she put in too much efforts and even got hurt. However, without complaints, she held out to the last day of training.


Hang on till the end and feel sure about yourself

After winning a bronze medal for the 50 meter backstroke at the World Swimming Championships, Liu Xiang got tens of thousands of followers on the Internet. Since then, she has been given the tag of “the prettiest swimmer”, which gave her some stress at the beginning. However, later she came to realize that she should become even stronger and prove herself with great achievements so that people would focus more on her ability in swimming than on her appearance.

Apart from all the glory, some of her days were gloomy. She failed in the 50 meter free style by only 0.2 seconds at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. She felt really pity for that but she turned that experience into her treasure. She said to herself, “You have to hang on till the end and feel sure about yourself.” As was expected, she regained her confidence in the following competition and won a gold medal for the 50 meter backstroke at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games.


Goddess of the Chinese swimming team

Liu Xiang enjoys high popularity on the Internet where she has over one million followers not only because of her achievements in swimming but also her attractive appearance. She was once given the tag of “Goddess of the Chinese swimming team”.

She hopes that she can bring positive power to the students at SCNU and encourages them to remain true to their original aspirations. She rarely come to school now because of the intense training but she says that she is planning to come back to school for study after retiring from the national swimming team.

Translated: Guo Xinyi

Proofread: Edwin Baak 

Reviewed: Li Jianru

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