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Hungary has had its most successful Winter Olympics ever. The Hungarian delegation won one gold and two bronze medals in speed skating. But there were not only happy moments in Beijing: the loss of Sándor Liu Shaolin’s gold medal and the fact that even though a Hungarian figure skater was back at the Olympics after 60 years, he could not compete due to a positive coronavirus test, overshadowed this year’s Games- at least for Hungarians. Here are the most memorable moments of the Beijing Winter Olympics from a Hungarian perspective. Almost 2,900 participants from 91 countries – including 12 Hungarians – competed in Beijing.

This article was originally published on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute.

With the extinguishing of the Olympic flame lit on February 4, the XXIV Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, which were of sports-historical significance for Hungary in many respects, officially ended on Sunday. For the first time in the history of the Winter Games, the Hungarian delegation won more than one medal and scored 20 Olympic points.

At the closing ceremony, Ádám Kónya brought the Hungarian flag into the stadium. He is the only Hungarian Olympian who remained in Beijing, as well as figure skater Márk Magyar, but he cannot return home until today, Monday, after previously testing positive for coronavirus.

Cross-country skier Ádám Kónya carries the national flag during the closing ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics on Feb. 20, 2022.

Photo by Tamás Kovács/MTI

Photo by Tamás Kovács/MTI

Hungary’s speed skating team made history

It is the second Olympics in a row where the Hungarian speed skating team made history. Liu Shaoang won the 500 meters, becoming the first Hungarian individual Olympic champion at the Winter Olympics. He even finished third in the 1000-meter race and also in the mixed relay.


As we reported earlier, Hungary’s Sándor Liu Shaolin had been able to claim the title of Olympic champion in 1000 meter speed skating for three minutes, but after a video check it was determined that he had committed two fouls, and was therefore disqualified. His younger brother Liu Shaoang thereby finished third and won a Hungarian medal, the second bronze at the Beijing Olympics. The Hungarian delegation wanted to challenge the 1000 meter final in men’s short track speed skating, but the answer came quickly: the International Skating Union rejected the appeal.

Liu Shaoang even shed tears when the results were announced (500 meter gold). There were a few difficult weeks behind the Hungarian athletes.

Gold medallist Liu Shaoang at the results ceremony of the men’s 500m short track speed skating race in the Olympic Park at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, 14 February 2022. Photo by Tamás Kovács/MTI

Photo by Tamás Kovács/MTI

His brother Sándor Liu Shaolin, John-Henry Krueger, Petra Jászapáti, and Zsófia Kónya also participated in the relay team that won a bronze medal.

Liu Shaoang finished fourth in the 1500m and Liu Shaolin sixth, as did the men’s relay team that won the title four years ago. This is the first time in the history of the Winter Games that the Hungarian delegation has won more than one medal, and the first time ever that they have been able to collect 20 Olympic points.

According to the vice president of the Hungarian Olympic Committee (MOB): “it is obvious that the team works professionally.” Gábor Schmidt said in Beijing: “four years ago in Pyeongchang the short track team won the first Olympic gold medal in the history of the country with the men’s relay; here in Beijing, the team with Petra Jászapáti and Zsófia Kónya also won a medal with the mixed relay, while Liu Shaoang became the first Hungarian Winter Olympian to win an individual gold medal.”

But we can not only report about great Hungarian successes, for some events in Beijing will remain a bad memory forever.

Historic Success: Shaoang Liu Wins Hungary's First Individual Gold Medal at Winter Olympics
Historic Success: Shaoang Liu Wins Hungary's First Individual Gold Medal at Winter Olympics

"In the morning I woke up with the feeling that I would be an Olympic champion," said the athlete.Continue reading

Figure skater Márk Magyar: “The work of a lifetime was in vain”

It had been 60 years since a figure skater reached an Olympic quota, but already before the start this dream was shattered: Márk Magyar was diagnosed with a coronavirus infection on his arrival in Beijing and was not allowed to compete in Beijing with his partner Chtchetinina Ioulia.

Magyar said that he could not imagine competing in the Olympics again in four years, telling Hungarian news agency MTI that “the work of a lifetime was in vain” when his first test came back positive on arrival at the airport. Magyar’s negative test for release from the Olympic “quarantine hotel” was received only yesterday, Sunday, so he can travel home with the rest of the Hungarian delegation today, on Monday, as originally planned.

Márton Kékesi, Hungarian skier, finished in 34th place

In the photo below, Márton Kékesi is seen after the first run of the men’s downhill alpine skiing event at the National Alpine Ski Center in the Yancheng Zone of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics on February 16, 2022. It is worth noting that this is the best Hungarian performance at the Olympics in this sport, as Attila Marosi finished 38th as recently as 2006 in Turin.

Márton Kékes. Photo by Tamás Kovács/MTI

Shortened route due to cold weather

Shortly before the scheduled start, it was decided that the cross-country skiing long distance (50 km) would start one hour later and the cross-country skiers would perform only 28.4 kilometers instead of 50. The change was decided by the organizers to “protect the health of the athletes,” because minus 16 degrees was measured in the cross-country skiing center in Changchakou, and a very strong wind was blowing, which contributed to a severe wind chill. The reduction of the distance was aimed at exposing the athletes to less extreme conditions. Ádám Kónya finished in 55th place.

Ádám Kónya. Photo by Tamás Kovács/MTI

Photo by Tamás Kovács/MTI

Hungarian snowboarder making it to Beijing is a success in itself

Kamilla Kozuback, Hungary’s first Olympic snowboarder, finished 17th in the “Big Air Qualification” ahead of 12 competitors, but unfortunately failed to qualify for the final 12 of the Olympic Games.

Kamilla Kozuback. Photo by Kovács Tamás/MTI

Photo by Kovács Tamás/MTI

Photo by Kovács Tamás/MTI

Meanwhile, cross-country skier Sára Pónya finished 97th in the 10-km classic at the Beijing Winter Olympics.

Sára Pónya. Photo by Tamás Kovács/MTI

Preparation for the next Olympic Games

Because of the pandemic, some 60,000 spectators were admitted to the 80,000-seat stadium, known as the “Bird’s Nest,” on Sunday evening. The program, themed “One World, One Family,” lasted almost an hour and a half at minus 10 degrees and was a continuation of the snowflake story sung in a nearly 1300-year-old poem by Chinese poet Li Paj that began the opening ceremony. The program also brought to life the most memorable and dramatic moments of the Olympic Games on big screens.

Lost Gold Medal: Skating Federation and Hungarian Olympic Committee Launch Ethical Investigation
Lost Gold Medal: Skating Federation and Hungarian Olympic Committee Launch Ethical Investigation

"I think everyone was able to wrap things up as they needed to be. Today we woke up feeling whatever happened, it happened, and we got over it," Shaolin Sándor Liu.Continue reading

The next host cities, Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, which will host the Games in four years, were also presented. The Italian organizers received the Beijing Olympic flag in a ceremony. They promised that the 2026 Games will be about the harmony of man and nature, with a program of events themed “Duality, Together.” They stressed that this will be the first Olympic Games officially hosted by two cities in two provinces, Lombardy and Veneto. Milan will represent the city, humanity, and the future, while Cortina will represent the mountains, nature, and sustainability.

Sources: MTI, Nemzeti Sport

Featured image via FotoJet

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