How did you start out as a skater?
I started in 2006. I did one year of skating in Hungary first, and after that I went to China, because my dad is Chinese so we got some help. My brother Sandor [Shaolin Lui] and I trained there with coach Zhang Jing, who we call Lina.
That helped you to really excel on the Hungarian Short Track scene…
Yes. After we came back to Hungary, we won almost every race. The Hungarian federation [Hungarian National Skating Federation] saw that it is a pretty good system in China. So we called Lina to be the head coach of the Hungarian national team. It was a big life-changer. We saw how coaches in China train differently from coaches in Hungary.
How is your relationship with Chinese speed skaters?
Of course we’re rivals on the ice, but outside of the track, we are good friends.
You’ll always get asked this, but what’s it like competing against your brother?
We live together, we do everything together. We wake up together, we eat together, we go out together, we go to training together, we come to races together. When we skate, the first and the most important thing is to cover each other. We get a lot of motivation from each other.
And who is better?
I always will think he’s the better skater, so I’m always looking up to him. Sometimes I get the better result, but it’s not because he’s a bad skater. Maybe he’s just tired or something.
How are you different from your brother?
I like video games, he doesn’t. He plays with me but after half an hour he’s bored. I can do two hours if I have the time. We play FIFA, ice hockey, racing and multiplayer games.
Are you well known in Hungary?
The Short Track athletes are not really famous, and winter sports athletes as a whole are not really famous in Hungary. Summer sports are more important and better known. But Short Track is the most famous winter sport we have because we get the results.
Does that put pressure on you?
Yes. I think it’s a pretty big pressure. We have to race every year, we have to compete, we have to show why are we training, why do we do this. But we can control it. Hungarian Short Track is still not that famous, but after the Olympic Games, anything could happen. It might be a really famous sport in Hungary.
What is your favorite venue to race in?
Shanghai. The ice rink is pretty big and the fans are just crazy. They always give me gifts and they always want to take some selfies. The Chinese fans are really cute and really fun. I also like to race in the Republic of Korea, and back home in Hungary.
What has been your favorite skating moment?
The 2017 Junior World Championships. I won four gold medals. Nobody has done that before.
What’s the best thing about being an elite athlete?
I think it’s something different. And Short Track is unlike any sport.
How much have you improved as a Short Track skater?
My first race was pretty bad. Well, it wasn’t bad, it was pretty good… I was tenth or something. It was my first year so I was really proud. Year by year, I just went up another level. These days, I usually skate in the finals.
Do you enjoy any other sports?
My brother and I did swimming but we got sick all the time because of the chlorine in the water, so we stopped. We used to play some football and ice hockey, too.
What’s your favorite food?
Tofu. Because my dad is Chinese, he always cooks it. I love what he cooks for me. When he cooks Chinese food, I think he’s the best.
Is he a good skater, too?
Our parents never did sports. My father is a painter. When he first came to Hungary, it took him ten days by train. He was traveling around Europe and he really loved Hungary so he decided to stay. His siblings are all in Hungary now. Only my grandmother isn’t.
Where is your dream travel destination?
I love to travel to exotic places, and after this year I think I will travel to the Bahamas or the Maldives. I’ve been to the Canary Islands, and I thought it was beautiful. I feel I need to chill out after this Olympic year.
Who is your hero?
I always get asked this but I never had one. I think it’s my brother and my family, who motivate me and are supportive. They’re always there for me. And I’m trying to be an idol myself. I really want to be a model and an actor. I like fame and celebrity. Hungary is not really big on this, but there’s USA and China.
What was your worst moment?
I broke my collarbone a while ago. It was the worst.
Finally, what is your Short Track ambition?
Everybody wants to be good at the Olympic Games, and so do I. I want to get to PyeongChang 2018, to race and show what I can do. But I don’t want to say big words like I’m going to be the Olympic champion. That is not my style.