Xu says her eyes and ears aren't really that bad
Updated: 2012-09-20 02:07
By Sun Xiaochen (China Daily)
Xu Lijia has piloted a bumpy course to success, but it hasn't been as bad as some in the media have reported.
At least her eyes and ears are fine, although her father indicated after the London Games that she was born with visual and hearing defects.
Since the 24-year-old Shanghai native sailed to gold in Laser Radial class in London last month, she has been molded into an indomitable heroin who overcame serious congenital amblyopia and a hearing impartment by some over-eager media outlets.
However, she downplays the impact of the ailments, stressing sensational stories were written to sell papers.
"It's way too over the top," Xu told China Daily recently. "Yes, I have little problems with my eyesight and hearing, like my dad. But it affects my training and life very little. Some reporters exaggerated it too much, but I can understand that they wanted to make big stories."
Overcoming a malignant tumor in her left leg before the 2004 Athens Games, Xu summoned up the strength and willpower to continue her career.
But she doesn't like to be labeled as a role model with a "broken body but a strong heart".
"My dad was talking with a journalist about my hard work so he cited my impairments. But I didn't expect it to come out that I am almost blind in one eye and deaf in one ear. It's not as serious as that.
"I sometimes joke with my media friends saying, 'How can I find a boyfriend to marry if you guys write about me like that?'"
After a series of celebratory events, Xu returned to Shanghai Jiao Tong University to continue her undergraduate studies in human resource management.
"If I really had serious trouble with my eyes and ears, how could I be a good student? My average test scores are not bad," Xu joked.