By BETH HARRIS – AP Sports Writer
BEIJING (AP) — In the topsy-turvy world of short track speed skating, the Liu brothers are holding steady and racking up Olympic medals.
Liu Shaoang of Hungary won the 500 meters on Sunday for his third medal in Beijing and his country’s first-ever individual gold at the Winter Games. Older brother Liu Shaolin Sandor was knocked out in the early rounds, but he has a bronze medal in the mixed team relay.
“I just suggested to my brother, ‘Don’t worry, we can definitely win another gold medal together,'” Liu Shaoang said.
He led all the way and crossed the finish line in 40.338 seconds at the Capital Indoor Stadium, where Nathan Chen, Olympic figure skating champion look at. Liu’s other medals were both bronze, in the 1000m and the mixed team relay.
Russian skater Konstantin Ivliev won silver. Canada’s Steven Dubois took the bronze.
Ivliev appeared more excited than Liu at the finish, the Russian pumping his arms and letting out a scream.
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“When I crossed the line, I had no emotion,” Liu said. “I guess I still need time to realize what happened.”
The A final was missing some of the biggest names. Defending champion Wu Dajing of China was relegated to the B final, which he won. China’s Ren Ziwei and Liu Shaolin Sandor were eliminated in the quarter-finals.
South Korea’s Hwang Daeheon exited in the semifinals after earning a penalty for a late pass that caused contact with Dubois. The Canadian qualified for the A final and won his second medal in Beijing. He won silver in the 1500m.
“I don’t know the expectations,” Dubois said, “but definitely higher than I expected.”
The 500 was devoid of the chaos that defines short track, with no one crashing in the five-lap sprint. Without Wu in the A final, the limited number of Chinese fans had no cause for celebration.
Under the direction of Suzanne Schulting, the Netherlands won the 3000m relay, breaking a hold on the event by South Korea.
Schulting won her second gold medal and third medal overall in Beijing. She won silver in the 500m and gold in the 1000m.
She screamed and raised her arms in triumph after crossing the finish line.
The Dutch team of Schulting, Selma Poutsma, Xandra Velzeboer and Yana van Kerkhof lowered their own Olympic record with a time of 4:03.40. Four years ago, at the Pyeongchang Games, the Dutch finished third.
“We know we’re good up front and that’s what we tried to do,” said Van Kerkhof. “We let Selma start because she is very fast. We had to keep this position and we did. One time we were really close, but we just had to skate fast.
They dedicated their victory to the late teammate Lara Van Ruijven, who died aged 27 in July 2020. She fell ill in a training camp in France, was placed in a medically induced coma and died a few days later.
“She’s very special,” Schulting said. “We are so sad that she is not here with us. She would be really proud.
Two-time defending champions South Korea rallied to claim silver in the event they have won six times in nine Olympics. China won bronze.
There were no falls in the four-team final. Canada finished fourth.
Arianna Fontana led Italy to victory in the B final. The Russians were penalized and the United States were penalized for a lane change that caused an obstruction. American skater Kristen Santos crashed during the race.
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