Hungary’s short-track speed skating heroes are Shaoang Liu and Shaolin Sandor Liu.
Hungary’s first Olympic Winter Games gold came in the men’s 5,000m relay four years ago in PyeongChang 2018, and they’re going for it again in Beijing.
Shaoang won his and Hungary’s first individual Olympic gold medal in the 500m, a bronze medal in the 1000m, and shared the podium once more with his brother Shaolin Sandor in the 2,000m mixed relay.
The brothers are huge stars in Hungary, and they’re also big in China.
China’s 1.4 billion people have been glued to their home Games and have embraced other athletes with Chinese parents.
Ailing (Eileen) Gu is a prime example; born in California to an American father and a Chinese mother, Gu chose to represent China in Beijing, and the country has already celebrated gold and silver in freestyle skiing with her.
Gu, who was raised in Beijing by her Chinese mother and grandmother, speaks Mandarin with a heavy (Beijing hua) accent and talks about’sessioning’ Chinese dumplings.
The Chinese take great pride in their national cuisine, and expressing gratitude is a surefire way to win them over.
Shaolin’s renowned entrance to the ice is well-known: as his name is called out before the race, he crosses his brows and winks at the camera, sending fans around the world swooning.
“All I did was wink at the camera, and everyone liked it!” It brings me good fortune. He told Olympics.com, “I win a lot of races because of my luck.”
Shaolin was given a Bing Dwen Dwen mascot bear when Hungary won bronze in the mixed team relay and said he would attempt to get a second one for his younger sister.
Sina Weibo (China’s version of Twitter) exploded with praise for his family values, responsibility, and consideration.
“I feel exhausted,” Shaoang said after winning his 500m gold, his country’s second-ever Olympic Winter Games gold medal and its first individual title. I’m still unable to express myself. “I’m at a loss for words, but perhaps that’s how all champions feel.” Obviously, I am very pleased with what I have accomplished. I am extremely proud of my team. My country makes me very proud. This is Hungary’s first individual medal in winter sports. “I’m hoping that this will bring people together.”
And he did it without his standard pre-race locker room song, Queen’s popular celebration song.
Things went a little crazy after the men’s 5,000m relay victory in PyeongChang four years ago.
Shaolin Liu, Shaoang Liu, Viktor Knoch, and Csaba Burjan became national heroes.
“People began to recognise us in Korea, and then at the airport,” Shaoang continues.
“I went to Pyeongchang with 5,000 Instagram followers and returned with 100,000,” says the athlete. It was enormous. People wanted to party with us back home, and soon people in China began to recognise us. “Our ambition is to be even bigger in Beijing,” says the company.
It’s safe to assume they’re even bigger in Beijing after their incredible performances.