Red Star

The sidekick of Paul the Octopus?

Liu Yuxi

Liu Yuxi w

Born in Sichuan, Liu Yuxi, 26, studied in South Korea for two years before returning home to become a host on Chongqing Satellite TV. In 2014, Liu joined state-run broadcaster CCTV.

Why is she famous?

The sports anchor was given the nickname “team killer” because she became notorious during the American NBA playoffs for dooming the basketball team whose jersey she wore during broadcasts.

“Whichever NBA team’s jersey she wears, that team will be eliminated in the play-offs,” netizens observed.

Why is she in the news?

Liu, who covered World Cup matches too, believed that the curse would not translate from basketball to soccer. So during the World Cup she once again donned shirts of the teams she supported. She was briefly vindicated when she wore the Brazilian jersey in the home team’s first match against Croatia. Brazil won the game 3-1. However, it turned out to be a fluke. In the next game, she wore the Spanish jersey (because she says she likes midfielder Andres Iniesta). Spain was then crushed by the Netherlands. Liu took to her personal weibo to apologise for the loss and was then inundated with thousands of messages begging her not to wear another team jersey. But she struck again when she wore an Italy shirt (beaten by Costa Rica) and in the final she wore the Argentina jersey (helping the Germans to victory).

After this week’s final Liu wrote on her weibo: “I don’t feel like wearing jerseys any more.” However, the furore has boosted her celebrity and she has acquired a new nickname: Squid Liu. It’s a reference to the squid that appeared on Chinese television at the last World Cup to predict match outcomes.

Over the past month her followers on Sina Weibo have surged from 200,000 to 1.2 million, with netizens warning that you had to know what Liu was wearing before taking a decision on gambling.

Meanwhile, in a separate poll that asked 393,544 people if they believed that China would reach the final of a football World Cup in their lifetime, only 14.6% of the respondents said yes.

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