Shaolin Sándor Liu has overcome the pain of his disqualification following a short-lived first-place finish in the 1,000 meter speed skating final of the Beijing Olympic Games. The Hungarian skater exuded confidence in his interview with sports daily Nemzeti Sport, declaring that over the next four years he will become stronger than ever.
Olympic, world, and European short track speed skating champion Shaolin Sándor Liu said that it took him a little time to return to his normal, cheerful self after facing his results at the Olympics. The speed skater did not win a medal at the individual level, since it was determined that he committed two fouls in the 1,000 meter final, but he played a crucial role in the Hungarian Team winning bronze in the 2,000-meter mixed relay.
Being of both Hungarian and Chinese descent, a gold medal in Beijing while skating for Hungary would have been a very special experience for Liu. He has nevertheless overcome the disqualification. His girlfriend and his coaches helped him a lot in the process, but he said that he tends to deal with such events on his own.
It’s pointless to find the fault in someone else, and to say that someone else ruined your life. I won’t let anyone else govern my life, and despite having said that, I decided after the finals that I’d speak to the head referee on the last day of the competition. I had prepared a long monologue at first, but by Wednesday, I decided that my only comment would be ‘no problem.’”
Ultimately, the athlete came to terms with the situation on his own accord, and his interaction with the said referee came down to a ‘hello’ prior to the B-final of the men’s relay.
Liu looked on the bright side after his defeat; he wasn’t injured, and he still had the opportunity to keep racing, the opportunity to prove himself. Now he is set on getting back to training. He acknowledged that the challenge of the next four years will certainly be tiring, but that will only make him stronger.
Of course, if we look at results, we can say that my case at the Olympics could have been more successful, but let’s also put our hands together for the bronze in relay. I’m really happy about that, in fact I already feel much more motivated than I was in Pyeongchang […] I’m much more aware now, over the next four years I want to be stronger than ever.”
Liu’s coach, Zhang Jing, is just as confident in him as he is in himself, perhaps even more-so. Speaking to Nemzeti Sport, she stated matter-of-factly that “Shaolin will be an Olympic champion in 2026.”
Liu also discussed his enthusiastic support for his brother Shaoang Liu in his battle for gold during the 500-meter final. “I was there,” he said, “yelling at the top of my lungs for him to stay strong until the very end, and he did.” Liu emphasized that there is no jealousy between the two of them, and that he was overcome with emotion, even motivation, upon seeing his brother pass the finish line and stand on the podium.
Featured photo illustration by Tamás Kovács/MTI