Prior to the final race, Liu Shaoang had won all the heats, which meant that he had just enough self-confidence for the final of the 500-meter sprint-track event. A Sports Manager major at the Faculty of Economics and Business, who also participates in the mentoring program of the University of Debrecen, took the repeat start with flying colors and was in the leading position in no time. He then kept his position for the first two laps, and the only challenge came from European champion Konstantin Ivliev from Russia, who never gave up and got very close to the Hungarian competitor, especially in the last lap. However, Liu Shaoang successfully fought off all the overtaking attempts and scored a historic victory, crossing the finish line first.
Liu Shaoang won the Olympic gold with 40.338 seconds, Konstantin Ivliev was second with 40.431 and Steven Dubois from Canada was third with 40.669 seconds.
The Hungarian men’s relay team did not make it to the finals of the 5000-meter race and, thus, they could not defend their title, which is why it was all the more important for the student of the University of Debrecen to do his best in the 500-meter event.
“After a while, I kept saying to myself that there was no point in waiting for my luck to show up all by itself but that I would need to do something for it myself. I guess that all the experience I have gathered so far during my career as an athlete was part and parcel of today’s victory. This gold medal is not just mine but it rather belongs to the whole team,” said the short track speed skating Olympic champion.
This gold, which was won by Liu Shaoang, was the first ever individual Olympic champion title for Hungary in the history of the Winter Olympic Games. However, it was also the third medal for the Hungarian delegation in the Chinese capital, since the mixed relay team and Liu Shaoang had both finished third before in the 1,000-meter events.