26. February 2018
Hungary race to gold in men’s short track 5,000m relay
The Hungarian team were the fastest starters but then looked on from behind as Canada, the Republic of Korea and the People's Republic of China all swapped the lead in the first half of the race. The Republic of Korea were hampered by a fall with 20 laps to go and left themselves with too much to do.
With just two laps remaining, Hungary moved past Canada to hit the front, and they held on to take gold in a new Olympic record of 6.31.971. The Canadians and Chinese battled for second place, with China claiming it with a time of 6.32.035. Canada finished just behind with a time of 6.32.282.
The men's 5,000m relay was the last short track event at PyeongChang 2018, and it got off to a cagey start with all four teams in contention. The Hungarians bided their time, skating within themselves and letting China and Canada set the pace in the 45-lap race before putting on a late surge that secured the gold medal.
Brothers Sandor Liu Shaolin and Shaoang Liu raced alongside Viktor Knoch and Csaba Burjan to claim Hungary's first gold medal at an Olympic Winter Games. They celebrated wildly at the end, high-fiving and hugging their technical staff beside the track before skating around the rink holding their country's flag.
"To win Hungary's first gold at a Winter Games is such a big honour," said Liu Shaolin. "The journey was really long to get here. The team qualified for the Winter Games in eighth position, the last position, but we made it count. We're the winner. It was really tough, but everyone came together to show this is what we can do."
Knoch admitted his delight and said that a weight had been lifted from the shoulders of the four team members.
"It's been 38 years since our last medal, a silver in figure skating. We felt a lot of pressure, if I have to be honest, from the whole country," admitted Knoch. "I think everybody felt this weight on their shoulders. It was our last chance to get a medal for our federation, our country, and it's unbelievable that it's a gold. It's really hard to understand what just happened."
Viktor Knoch and Csaba Burjan were supported by MOL Talent Support Programme.