star Hungarian speed skater was kicked out of China and perhaps off his country’s national team after expressing his annoyance at long customs lines in Shanghai’s Pudong airport.
Csaba Burjan arrived in Shanghai on Monday for the speed skating World Cup, which is scheduled to begin on Friday. At the 2018 Pyeongchang games, Burjan had helped win his country’s first-ever Winter Olympic gold when the Hungarian team placed first in the 5000m relay, besting favorited China in the event.
However, Burjan’s arrival in Pudong evidently did not go smoothly. He reportedly had to wait in line for more than an hour at airport customs. During that time, he fired off a post on Instagram showing the long queues along with the message “F*ckin China.”
Burjan soon deleted the post and set his Instagram to private while issuing a quick apology. “Deeply sorry for yesterday’s post,” he wrote. “Was tired after a long trip didn’t mean.”
As anyone who has previously hurt China’s feelings can tell you, that apology was not accepted. On Wednesday, the coach of the Hungarian team, Chinese national Zhang Jing, told local media that Burjan had been “repatriated” and had “withdrawn” from the national team.
At the same time, Zhang submitted her own resignation as coach, writing on her WeChat account that she was “astounded” and “outraged” by what Burjan had posted.
Zhang took part in the 1994 Winter Olympics as a speed skater for China. She became the coach of Hungary’s speed skating team in 2012, helping to develop a pair of promising young skaters whose father was from China. The pair, Sandor Liu Shaolin and Liu Shaoang, helped to lead Hungary to its first Winter gold alongside Burjan.
The Hungarian National Skating Federation said that it did not accept Zhang’s resignation and was in negotiations with her. It apologized for Burjan’s “insulting behavior to China,” calling his conduct “completely unacceptable from a national athlete.”
The federation added that Burjan had apologized to Zhang. It said that it had started disciplinary proceedings against the skater. It’s not clear if he will be allowed back on the team after the World Cup. Of course, the next Winter Olympics will take place in China