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Reading the Olympians' fortunes

  • Story Highlights
  • According to a divination by the I-Ching, some top Olympians won't be in luck
  • Conditions do not appear lucky for Yao Ming, Asafa Powell or Roger Federer
  • There's better news for swimmer Cate Campbell and shooter Du Li
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By Dean Irvine
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HONG KONG, China (CNN) -- How many times have we seen it; an athlete offering a rueful shake of the head and shrug of the shoulders, and the only explanation for not winning: "It just wasn't my day." But would knowing if it was their day help?


According to an I-Ching reading, Yao Ming is "getting a lot of support, but it's not helping."

Athletes are a superstitious bunch, but consulting a fortune teller might seem a little bit too "ancient Olympics" for many of today's athletes, who put more faith in hi-tech equipment and specialized training regimes.

However, it didn't stop us from doing it for them. We asked destiny consultant Master Raymond Lo, an expert in reading the I-Ching, the ancient Chinese "Book of Changes," which of the top sports people bound for Beijing would be successful at the Olympics.

"I looked at their elements to see if there is good luck or not, or this year is favorable or not," he said from his feng shui-ed office on the 12th floor of a Hong Kong tower.

"The only thing you can see is whether there is luck this time or year or not. Some will perform well, but some won't. We can see their personal fortune, but of course whether he or she wins the medal or not is also down to their competitors."

With a dose of skepticism for any form of fortune telling, we only gave Master Lo the dates of birth of the athletes, not their names. From that he worked out the dominant elements that affect each one, and just whose luck was likely to be in during the Games and who might as well leave their lucky pair of underpants in the laundry basket.

Michael Phelps
Swimmer, USA, born: June 30, 1985

The U.S. swimmer has been a phenomenon in the pool. Won six gold medals at the Athens Olympic Games, he went one better at the world championships in 2007, breaking 5 world records in the process. Many think he's on course to better his Olympic medal tally in Beijing.

Master Lo's reading: "This man is born on day of metal, but it's weak metal, as he is born in the summer time which is a fire sign. He needs support, from earth. So he is in good luck, as he is 23 and he is in the luck of metal and earth. But unfortunately the year is not so favorable to him as it's the year of the Rat, which is a water element. So there is some kind of clash. So he will have some obstacles. The Games take place in autumn which is metal season, which is favorable. So he has something good and not so good. He will do OK, but not outstanding."

Verdict: Just the five gold medals then this time?

Liu Xiang
110 meter hurdles, China, born: July 13, 1983

World record holder and winner of the gold medal in Athens in 2004, he's the favorite to win gold again in Beijing.

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Master Lo's reading: "A water gentleman, but extremely weak. If he's done well before it's because fire and earth is good for him. But this year is water, which means it's not so good for him. And the season is metal, so metal and water are against his favorable fire. The luck is not supportive of him. His past shows he has a lot of success, which is always determined by fire elements, but this year the fire has disappeared.

Verdict: Can win it if the home-town crowd relights his fire.

Yao Ming
asketball player, China, born: September 12, 1980
China's biggest, and tallest, sporting export; the Houston Rocket's player is racing to the make the Chinese Olympic team after picking up a season-ending foot injury in April.

Master Lo's verdict: "He's an earth person. Also based on his past record, water must be good for him. He needs metal and water. So this year and season should be good. But I'm not very sure about this one. He was born in September. Something is trying to supporting him, but it looks as thought that support fails. This means even if his luck is not so bad, he may have made mistakes and has some hiccups. So I'm not that optimistic for him. He is an Earth element, which normally needs a support of fire. But the problem is he's only 28. Before he was 28 he has half water, half fire, so it's hard to see what made him successful in the past. He could need fire, this year the fire goes away, and this year his luck is changing, from fire to water.

"Not everyone needs to know the hour of their birth, but this person is critical. If he has fire in his hour of birth, then he's a weak earth person, but if he has no fire, he's a dead earth person -- there's no medicine for that. If he was playing before 18 that means he needs fire to have luck. The luck he's moving into is not so good -- it's going down."

Verdict: Bench warming and cameo-appearances won't be enough for China's hoop dreams.

Asafa Powell
Sprinter, Jamaica, born: November 13, 1982

The faster man, ever, over 100 meters, he set the current world record of 9.74 seconds in September 2007. He was one of the favorites at the Athens Games, but finished in fifth place.

Master Lo's reading: "He's 26 and a metal person; it looks like he's a weak metal person and he's just at the end of a good luck period. By the age of 28 it is already wood, which doesn't help the metal. Earth is still supporting him, but it's nearing its end. It doesn't look like it will be very good for him. The water year is exhausting his energy. Not very optimistic about him."

Verdict: Perhaps an each-way bet is the way to go on this speed demon.

Paula Radcliffe
Marathon runner, UK, born: December 17, 1983

Despite having won a gold medal at every other major world championship and won numerous marathon events, the distance runner has not won an Olympic medal of any color.

Master Lo's reading: "A fire lady, but she is weak fire person, so she needs wood to support her. She's still in good luck but near the end of this good luck period. This is almost the very last year of it, and the season doesn't help her either as it's metal. So even though her luck is good, the year and season aren't helping her.'

Verdict: Last chance for Paula, but not a golden year.

Roger Federer
Tennis, Switzerland, born: August 8, 1981
The Swiss tennis maestro has had a rocky start to the year, by losing, of all things, not something he's used to. He's often said that winning gold at the Olympics would rank as highly as winning a Grand Slam tournament.

Master Lo's reading: "He's born on an auspicious date and it's the first day of the Olympic Games. He's a weak earth person, but has fire supporting his earth, so not extremely weak. Metal is his skill, he's a very skillful man. He needs fire, but there's no fire for him this year or season. He's also coming to the end of his fire luck period and the next set of luck is not so good. There's a clash. The success before was from a lot of fire, he was probably very successful when he was around 21."

Verdict: Roger, over and out.

Cate Campbell
Swimmer, Australia, born: May 20, 1992

At just 15 years-old she shook up Australian swimming last year by winning the 50-meter freestyle event in the national championships. Hailed as the next big thing in Australian swimming. Set to compete in the 50m and 100m freestyle events.

Master Lo's reading: "She's a fire lady, but this is tricky because she is so young -- she's just starting in a period of luck, so I'm not sure that wood is so helpful to her. If she is successful before it's because of earth. After 16 she's coming into wood luck. Her fire is not weak, so that is why earth is her good for her. Personally the luck isn't that strong for her, but the season of the Games is very good for her. And the year as well. She doesn't need fire, she is strong. She will be fine, but like the first one [Michael Phelps], not incredibly."

Verdict: A bright future and shiny medal at this year's Games.

Du Li
Shooting, China, born: March 5, 1982

Won the 10-meter air rifle gold medal in Athens in 2004 with a record score.

Master Lo's reading: "She is born on a fire day and in springtime in March, which means she is strong fire, as wood supports her fire. If the fire is strong she needs the earth to exhaust her energy. The principle is quite simple: if you are strong you need something to exhaust you, if you are weak you need something to support you. This year is favorable to her, because this year is earth and water -- both are exhausting her fire. If you are strong that is alright. And she is in luck and the season is good for her also. Every element is favorable to this lady."

Verdict: Dead-eye Du to do it again. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN news intern Denise Tam contributed to this report.

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