The European Championship was due last week, but was canceled due to the pandemic, so your last racing experience is the World Cup series, which has been very choppy for you. How do you remember her?
Winning medals was secondary, the goal was to get as many stakes as possible by settling in the top 32, 36, and of course the bills. I’ve had so many good and bad experiences, it really looked like a roller coaster to my eyes. I felt good at every stop, but I had a low point that didn’t come at a good time, and that made a slight fall.
Then combined for Debrecen and Holland, I was able to get my physical strength on the track and race like before.
Everyone has minor bumps in life, which I think I’ve got up pretty well on.
Was it low due to exceptions or the other way around?
I don’t want to comment on that.
Do they think the problem for European stations has been resolved?
Yes, luckily things are back in the old wheelhouse.
Shortly after the conclusion of the World Cup, it was reported that the European Championship had been cancelled, meaning it was left uncontested for 2.5 months before the Olympics. What has changed in the preparation?
We’ve talked a lot before about whether it’s worth going to Ibb. It was so close to the start of the Olympics, a possible positive test or infection could have done a lot of damage and there would be no way back. From that point of view, I’m glad we’re traveling safer to Beijing, but of course it was nice to compete a little bit and get to know everything. The first track might be the mixed relay, which will wake us up enough and we’ll be able to spin all the races.
The new year started with a minor illness that made him train less. How do you feel now, both healthy and formal?
Thank you, I think I made a full recovery, it was easy to catch a cold during this time, I’ve been running my nose and sore throat, but I didn’t catch.
The preparations went well anyway, and I think they will go well in the coming weeks.
We build everything consciously, I trust the coaches I fully trust and I’m sure that when we are there at the starting line everyone will be fully prepared to race.
Did the hair of the preparation have to be completely rethought?
Instead, it caused difficulty at the start of the pandemic, when it had to be stopped completely several times because someone was always producing a positive test. We are more routine now, and we are dealing with the virus situation more expertly, so fortunately there has been no downtime since then everyone can train normally and safely.
Aside from traveling and commuting, what awaits you until your first race in Beijing?
We’re traveling next Wednesday, we’ll be training all the way, and I don’t think there will be much rest. We still have 10 days to get ready, but there will probably only be training sessions, which we try to do in the safest way possible.
Recently, news emerged that ticket purchases have been completely discontinued and that only invited guests will be attending the tournaments. Also, what else do you know about the special circumstances that await you?
Fortunately, on the first leg of the World Cup in Beijing, we already somewhat tested how strict they handle everything. Of course, we will now live in a village full of bubbles, and as far as I know we will be able to move inside it. There, perhaps, things will be looser there, but in the meantime it will definitely be tighter. For the spectators, I don’t think the audience was too impressed, we’ve been racing behind closed gates, but obviously it would be good for those who will be there to cheer us on.
Have you spoken to anyone who was there in Tokyo last summer and witnessed what the Olympics look like in the shadow of a pandemic?
Not with the athletes, but with the team doctor who has been there and comes with us. He prepares us for everything, he thinks the rules in Tokyo were stricter anyway, for example, they had to wait 6 hours at the airport for the test result on arrival, but luckily we’ll get it at the hotel. I think the Beijing organizers have also learned from Tokyo’s mistakes and are trying to eliminate them.
They won the Olympics four years ago in a way that, although they were already considered successful, they weren’t very much in their minds. Now the expectations are completely different, do you feel that way?
People are good at watching us. The delegation will be much smaller than it is in Tokyo, but we also want to show what we are capable of with this small team. We don’t feel pressure, nobody puts us on it, we train ourselves, we strive for the best possible result, and these can be the most beautiful medals.
Is it worth talking about primary power relations at all because of contingency?
There are a lot of athletes who carry medals from various competitions and world cups for years and then fall behind on the podium at the Olympics. Anything can happen at any time, especially in the short path. This is why we can do nothing but build ourselves up from one race to another.
What are your strengths, both individually and on a team level?
If a few Chinese spectators can be there, that can give us a huge advantage, we also know the terrain, the culture, we love the food, we don’t have a problem with that. We have a very good experience with Asia, especially with China, so we don’t think we might be surprised.
Our team has changed a bit compared to four years ago, but now, for example, it’s been much more stable in the Olympics, we’ve won medals from every World Cup.
And even mixed gear will also be an interesting race and I’m looking forward to it.
It’s been said many times that with Shaolin, it doesn’t matter in what order they finish on the podium as long as the medals remain in the family. As a family, what will they be happy with, what is the secret desire?
I would be very happy to be among the first 2 in the long run, but it is a very difficult task. Instead, all I want is to be able to smile and hug my family and friends when we get home and get off the plane.
(Cover photo: Liu Shaoang after winning the World Cup over 1,000 meters in Dordrecht, Netherlands. Photo: Josep Martinson / International Skating Federation / Getty Images)
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