The Hungarian Olympic champion Liu brothers, Sándor Shaolin and Shaoang Shaolin, have asked the Hungarian National Skating Federation (Magyar Országos Korcsolyázó Szövetség, MOKSZ) for its consent to start the process leading to the change of country.
According to a statement by the MOKSZ, the Liu brothers, Sándor Shaolin and Shaoang, have initiated a change of country. According to the federation, the Liu brothers do not name a country in their application and the national federation has not formally or informally made any claim to the MOKSZ for the two athletes’ right to compete, Index reports.
Liu Shaoang, a two-time Olympic champion, won the 500 sprint this year and four years ago as a member of the relay team. He is also a six-time world champion. Liu Shaoang first showcased his talents at the 2017 World Junior Championships in Innsbruck, where he won the 500m, 1000m and 1500m world titles, a feat unmatched in the sport.
Liu Shaolin claimed the historic 2018 Olympic gold medal (Hungary’s first at the Winter Olympics) as the relay’s finishing man and is also a two-time world champion. He won the 1000m at this year’s Olympics but was disqualified, Telex writes.
The Liu brothers announced in August that they would be preparing for the season in China, following their Chinese coach, Lina Zhang, who left the Hungarian national team. They justified their decision by saying that she had taught them not only sport but also life and that they would continue together. The two brothers spent part of their childhood in China.
In order to compete in the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan, the two athletes will have to miss three years of competition if the Hungarian federation does not agree to the change of country. The president of the Hungarian federation, Lajos Kósa, told Mandiner at the beginning of August that they will compete in Hungarian colours. The federation was so confident that they would represent Hungary in the future that they even financed their current training camp.
The Hungarian state provides an annuity to Olympic medallists if they are Hungarian citizens. This annuity is payable from the age of 35 and is adjusted to the average salary at the time. Shaolin, who will turn 27 in November, would receive around HUF 800,000 (EUR 1990) a month for the rest of his life, while 24-year-old Shaoang would receive HUF 1.5 million (EUR 3730) a month if they retain their Hungarian citizenship, Telex writes. However, if they lose their Hungarian citizenship, they will not be entitled to the annuity either.
Source: Index, Telex, Mandiner