No Joy in Mudville

China has been on a eupohric high since the grand opening ceremonies of these Games, and the subsequent medal haul of the Chinese athletes. Something was bound to give somewhere sometime. It happened this afternoon in the Bird's Nest, where China's favorite Olympic star, Liu Xiang was set to run a trial heat that would set him up to run for gold in the 110m hurdles on Thursday night–in front of the home crowd. The hopes and dreams of a nation and 1.3 billion individuals have been riding on his shoulders for years. But it will not be.  A leg injury flared up at the start of the race, and he was forced to pull out, stunning a crowd of 90,000 in the stadium, and a nation watching on TV into silence and tears.  Unbelievable.  There is no joy in Beijing this day.

Magazine's Hannah Beech has an excellent article about it here.