Defending Olympic Champion Jiao Liuyang’s Career In Jeopardy Over Stomach Illness

After China announced their World Championship roster Monday, there was a glaring absence in the spot where Jiao Liuyang likely could have been.

The 2012 Olympic Champion in the 200m butterfly has been suffering from viral gastroenteritis, an intestinal infection that has impeded her training for some time now.

Absent from the 2015 Chinese Nationals, the stomach problem more commonly referred to as the flu has seriously put her entire career in jeopardy.

Not only will she not be at this summer’s World Championships, but is reporting that rumors are circling that Liuyang may possibly retire. If she does choose to end her career, that would mean she will be unable to defend her Olympic gold medal from 2012.

According to, Liuyang told reporters that she isn’t taking medicine for her condition. Instead, Liuyang said that they are following very conservative treatment.

A staple on the Chinese roster, Liuyang earned her first major international hardware at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, finishing second in the 200m butterfly on home soil.

Liuyang backed up that performance with a bronze in the 100m fly at the 2009 World Championships in Rome. In 2011, she won her first individual major international gold, winning the 200m butterfly again at home.

In 2012, Liuyang won gold in Olympic record timing, beating Mereia Belmonte Garcia of Spain by over a second. At the 2013 World Championships, she finished sixth overall in the 200m fly.



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Victor P
6 years ago

Very strange. Has anything like this happened before? I’ve heard of other career-ending injuries, but never a flu related stomach illness.

Reply to  Victor P
6 years ago

Read the article. It says she isn’t taking any medicine for treatment, instead she is following a “conservative treatment”. She is doing this to herself

Victor P
Reply to  Markster
6 years ago

Still, the flu is not a permanent condition. I’m one who has himself not taken any medication when I was sick with the flu. Sure, it lasted 3 to 4 weeks, but then I was better. That still doesn’t answer how a flu can be a career ender.

6 years ago

Could be the residual effects of PED use? Never mind. I will show myself out.

Philip Johnson
6 years ago

Wish her a speedy recovery!

6 years ago

Its definitely not easy to have an intl career that spans 3 olympic games so I dont think anyone should be that surprised but the health reason given does seem a bit odd

6 years ago

The diagnosis is atrophic gastritis, it’s can either be caused chronic H.Pylori(a kind of bacteria) infection in stomach or autoimmune disease and hard to treat. Can cause weight loss, poor appetite, low energy etc.

Reply to  swimdoc
6 years ago

I wonder how much gluten is in the typical Chinese diet. I don’t want to get into the whole gluten-free movement in general but there are individual people who have issues with it and going gluten-free did really seem to help Dana Vollmer’s digestive issues.

Rick Mears
Reply to  beachmouse
6 years ago

I love gluten. The more the better!

Victor P
Reply to  swimdoc
6 years ago

Thanks for the answer Swimdoc! Now an autoimmune disease, that I can understand.

Tom from Chicago
6 years ago

It is difficult for suspicion to not be aroused with the Chinese after they were busted with vials of performance enhancing drugs entering Australia.

I have no suspicions of this swimmer, but when swimmers pull out before a competition, one has to consider the possibility that they weren’t clearing a drug fast enough from their system.

It will be difficult for the Chinese to clean up their reputation in my mind.

About Mitch Bowmile

Mitch Bowmile

Mitch worked for 5-years with SwimSwam news as a web producer focusing on both Canadian and international content. He coached for Toronto Swim Club for four seasons as a senior coach focusing on the development of young swimmers. Mitch is an NCCP level 2 certified coach in Canada and an ASCA Level …

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