February 13, 2022
By Hritika Sharma and Julien Pretot
BEIJING (Reuters) -Liu Shaoang won the short track speed skating men’s 500 metres gold medal at the Beijing Olympics on Sunday to give Hungary its first individual title at a Winter Games.
Liu, who claimed bronze in the mixed team relay and the 1,000 metres, led a clean race from start to finish to beat Konstantin Ivliev of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) after the other favourites failed to make the final.
Canada’s Steven Dubois took bronze, his second medal in Beijing after finishing second in the 1,500 metres.
“I’m still speechless. When I crossed the line, I didn’t show any emotions because I still need some time to realise what happened,” Liu told a news conference.
“I think that when I go back home, my life will change. It’s going to be crazy. We are here to make history.”
Dubois was in awe of Liu’s performance.
“He passed me in every race (quarter and semi-finals) and in the final he was untouchable,” the Canadian said.
Hungary’s only other gold medal at a Winter Olympics came in 2018, when Liu helped his team win the men’s 5,000 metres relay in short track speed skating.
Hungarians have now won 10 Winter Games medals.
Defending champion Wu Dajing was the favourite at the Capital Indoor Stadium, but the Chinese was knocked out in the semi-finals.
There were also upsets in the quarter-finals as China’s Ren Ziwei, the 1,000m champion, and twice Olympic medallist Liu Shaolin, Liu Shaoang’s brother, were knocked out.
Hwang Dae-heon got through his quarter-final after a photo finish, but the South Korean crashed out in his semi-final.
The short track speed skating events at the Games will conclude on Wednesday with the men’s 5,000 metres relay and women’s 1,500 metres.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot and Hritika Sharma; Editing by Ken Ferris and Ed Osmond)