Sándor Shaolin Liu won the gold in 1000m speed skating at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games yesterday. However, he could only celebrate his win for a couple of seconds. After a short examination, the jury disqualified him because of two fouls committed during the finals. He received a yellow card, the gold and silver went to Chinese athletes, while his brother won the bronze medal. Public outcry followed the decision in Hungary, and people are blaming the referees. The Hungarians challenged the decision, and South Koreans also complained about the jury’s work.
Three Chinese and two Hungarian athletes of Chinese origin competed in the finals yesterday. Interestingly, the race started twice due to ice chunks on the surface. The first try was better for the Hungarian Sándor Shaolin Liu, though he could not complain about the second, either. Liu and China’s Ren fought for the first place from the beginning right up to the final metres. The Hungarian athlete fell while crossing the finish line, then started to cheer.
Then came the video control and the jury.
They analysed the video recordings for a couple of minutes and disqualified the young Hungarian skater, giving the gold to Ren. Ren’s compatriot, Li Wenlong, won the silver, while the bronze went to Liu’s brother, Shaoang Liu.
In the history of the Winter Olympics, it was in 1924 that Hungary won more than one medal at a single event.
The 26-year-old Hungarian skater’s brother, Liu Shaoang, stated at a press conference that “we are not referees, there is nothing we can do”. However, the Hungarian team challenged the jury’s decision. According to index.hu, Ren Ziwei jerked Liu backwards on the final metres of the race. He fell, but even so, he won. The Chinese athlete was not disqualified, and the Hungarian team’s challenge was rejected.
It is not only the Hungarians who raise their eyebrows, questioning the fairness of the referees at the Beijing Olympics. South Korea will turn to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) because of the semi-finals of the men’s 1000m speed skating, during which Hwang Daeheon and Lee Juneseo were disqualified, telex.hu reported. The Korean Olympic Committee said they would do everything to protect their athletes from unjust decisions. The public outcry was so huge in the Far Eastern country that even politicians claimed that
China stole their medals.
Zsolt Gyulay, the head of the Hungarian Olympic Committee, said it was hard to watch what had happened after the athletes crossed the finish line. “We see how the refereeing goes.” He added that in short track speed skating, the race is never over once the athletes cross the finish line. The arrival order is never the final result.
“We could see that the Chinese athletes worked together,”
He added that, despite Liu’s disqualification, Monday was full of wonders. First of all, Shaoang Liu won Hungary’s first individual Winter Olympic medal. Furthermore, Petra Jászapáti’s seventh place in 500m is also respectable. Moreover, this is the first Winter Olympic Games where the Hungarians won more than one medal.
Player.hu asked Krisztián Szabó, the head coach of the Hungarian junior team, about the controversial speed skating finals. Mr Szabó said that the work of the referees does not meet the standards worthy of the Olympic Games.
He said that Liu’s first foul was so insignificant that referees would not mind it in 80 pc of the cases. The second was at the finish line. However, there, it was the Chinese who jerked the Hungarian athlete backwards first. The problem is that Liu picked up the gauntlet.
Mr Szabó highlighted that if a yellow card was deemed reasonable in the case of Liu, the Chinese should have been disqualified as well. He said that the referees favour Chinese athletes in the Winter Olympics – and not only the Chinese referees.
Meanwhile, Shane Ryan, a co-worker of Golf Digest, said that Liu’s disqualification was justifiable because he left the track and blocked his Chinese contestant with his arm. Since his foul preceded the Chinese, he disqualified himself before the finish line, Ryan argues. Balázs Kövér, a Hungarian referee, agrees with the American journalist. He said that Liu could have been disqualified. Though he would not have modified the race result, the referees’ decision is justifiable.
The yellow card he received means he did not rank in the finals. It is as if he did not even take part.
Here is a video about what happened yesterday:
Source: index.hu, telex.hu, player.hu, szmo.hu,