Olympic gold medalist switches to show business

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Liu’s native dialect is Mandarin and her new career has required her to master Cantonese dialect used in Hong Kong. She is now fluent enough to speak at public events and be interviewed _ although her dialogue on “Grace under Fire” was still dubbed.

The initial response to Liu’s career change is promising.

Her duet with Malaysian-Chinese singer Michael Wong from “Beautiful Faces” has done well on Hong Kong pop charts. “Once I Fall in Love You Are the One” reached No. 10 on RTHK, one of the territory’s leading radio stations.

“Grace Under Fire” has seen its ratings climb steadily since its debut on March 7, with estimated viewership peaking at just over 2 million people in this city of 7 million for the series finale on April 17.

She is in talks about another TVB drama. Liu says she wouldn’t mind becoming an action star although she thinks she can handle non-action roles.

Her music so far has mostly been the mellow ballads that dominate Chinese pop, but Liu said she prefers an edgier rock sound, citing Avril Lavigne as a favorite Western singer. The former gymnast also has written lyrics, penning one number inspired by a female friend hurt by a selfish boyfriend.

Liu is not the only former Chinese Olympic champion eyeing an entertainment career. Former diver Tian Liang, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, is trying his hand at acting. His latest movie, “A Beautiful Life,” in which he plays the male lead’s autistic brother, will be released in mainland China on Friday.

Liu said she feels that even though she is a rookie performer, the bar is set higher for her because of her successful gymnastics career.

“I need to work even harder,” she said.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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