Which one do you like best?
I know my vote. Frankly, I don't know how Liu Xiang can not be the story of these Games, the one athlete who has the most pressure because the most is riding on his success. China Daily columnist Raymond Zhou recently told a roundtable of panelists (full disclosure: I was moderating for ESPN.com) that Liu Xiang winning gold this year would be tantamount to Barack Obama winning the presidency, because it would mean be bigger than sports. It would shatter stereotypes about Asians being intrinsically bad at track and field and other sports involving stamina. It's not going to be easy, though, especially not when you have people saying "if Liu cannot win another gold medal in Beijing, all of his previous achievements will become meaningless" (via James Reynolds, BBC).
Incidentally, I also know the worst cover of the bunch: SI, what happened? You used to be, unequivocally, my favorite weekly, and now you're no better than a money-grabbing tabloid when it comes to cover choices. Michael Phelps on the cover for a second straight Olympics? Hope that extra $100 K was worth it.
POSTSCRIPT: But SI's articles are still good: the consummate pro, Tim Layden, on Liu Xiang.
Kaila! Jordan! Kevsther!
7 months ago