The ad uses the image of the former Olympic gold medalist as a metaphor for men whose performance flops without warning. (Internet photo)
An image of Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang has been used without the former Olympic gold medalist's permission in an advertisement for a sexual health clinic in Guangdong province, reports the Jiangsu-based Modern Bulletin.
The ad appears to mock Liu's dramatic stumble at the first hurdle of his 110m heat at the London Olympic games with the words: "Falling down at the beginning of the race! Premature ejaculation: man's unspeakable pain."
The photo used in the ad features a dejected Liu sitting on the track with his head down after injuring his Achilles tendon in the fall. Despite the fact that Liu's face is not shown in the photo and his name is never mentioned, the clinic may have a sticky situation on its hands as it is obvious that the man in the photo is the champion hurdler.
This is reportedly not the first time Liu's image has been used without authorization. "There have been many similar ads that use Liu's photos in Shenzhen," said a media insider.
An undercover reporter who called the clinic spoke to a person who claimed to be a doctor and encouraged the reporter to visit the clinic in Guangzhou's Baiyun district. Upon learning that the caller was a reporter, the doctor immediately said that he or she is only a doctor and was not involved in any of the clinic's advertising.
Li Guoxiong, the head of Liu's team at the Management Center of Track and Field at the country's sport administration, said he will report this to the center and see how the center wants to handle the matter after discussing it with Liu and his coach.
Liu Xiang 劉翔
Li Guoxiong 李國雄