June 25, 2015 / 10:55 AM / 4 years ago

Athletics-China's former Olympic champion Liu announces divorce

Liu Xiang tears during his retirement ceremony in Shanghai May 17, 2015. REUTERS/Aly Song

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chin’s former Olympic hurdles champion Liu Xiang has divorced from his actress wife Ge Tian, he said on Thursday, ending the short marriage just months after announcing his retirement from track and field.

Liu, 31, became an icon in China after he won the country’s first Olympic men’s track and field gold medal in the 110 meters hurdles in Athens in 2004. He became world champion in 2007 and held the world record in 2006 with a time of 12.88 seconds.

He surprised some fans with his marriage to Ge last September.

“After our wedding, our personalities did not match, and today we have ended our marriage. I hope from here on each of us can have a more beautiful life. We have best wishes for each other,” Liu said in a statement on his official microblog.

One of China’s most popular athletes, Liu’s gold medal at the 2004 Olympics brought him fame and fortune but also made his life more like that of a rock star and placed a huge burden of expectation on him.

Liu was forced to pull out of competition at the 2008 Beijing Olympics with an Achilles injury and his hopes of regaining the Olympic title in 2012 in London ended when he stumbled at the first hurdle.

Reporting by Michael Martina, editing by Ed Osmond

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