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Liu Xiang, Doping and Sports Journalism Ethics

Titan Sports (体坛周报), China’s largest sports publication, on Nov. 18th ran a piece about foreign journalists offering bribe to get doping stories from Liu Xiang’s coach. Below are some excerpts:

Eight doping cases came to light in the Beijing Olympics. Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, predicted 7 more could be found after the final testing session. Olympic champions such as Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt have all been questioned so far. Liu Xiang , Chinese 110-meter hurdler, who won gold in 2004 Athens Olympics and became world champion at the World Athletics Championships in Osaka in 2007, can not escape from linking with drug use either.

Gu Baogang, Liu’s first coach, said a group of reporters from 7 countries reached him in 2007, offering €100,000 Euros for any doping stories of Liu. “Have Liu ever used drugs?” asked a reporter directly. Gu said he was shocked by the question and told them “you should ask World Anti-Doping Agency for this question,” through a translator.

“Liu Xiang has never been questioned before. He went through more than 100 times of drug tests after winning gold at Athens and I haven’t heard of any questions in any occasions about him from the International Association of Athletics Federations,” said Feng Shuyong, vice-president of the Chinese Athletics Federation.

“There’s no €100,000 Euros. I was just bragging to my friends the other day. I never expect it’s been written like this,” noted Gu Baogang over a phone interview with China Interactive Sports (华奥星空), a website under the General Administration of Sport of China, the top sports governing body. ”Liu has never used drugs for sure when I was coaching him. And I believe he would not do it later,” Gu continued. “There were some foreign reporters asking me questions about Liu, but there was nothing about doping at all.”

Gu Baogang then became a target of public criticism so far. But to be honest, we’re shocked that the Titan piece got published in the first place. A group of reporters from 7 countries offering bribe together? Below are some words from our favorite read Sports Law Blog:

The rapidly changing delivery model of journalism in the 21st Century, the increasing competition among news sources, and the economic pressures and incentives (including the quest for ratings) is killing journalism ethics.

In a country where news is controlled and censored heavily by the Party, it seems sports journalism gets much more freedom than ever before. But for the time being, there’s definitely more people for us to care about than this kind of bribe story.


  • Titan Sports: Foreign reporters tried to bribe Liu Xiang’s coach for doping story (Chinese)
  • Shanghai Daily: ‘Liar Gu’ admits he made up Liu story


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