Figure Skating: I’m More Suited for the Olympics – Chapter 11 Giving

In the eyes of many, including Zhang Jue, the development of the men’s singles event at the Vancouver Winter Olympics seemed magical.
No one had high expectations before the competition, not even Shen Liu himself. However, in the short program, Shen Liu suddenly rose to the third position, 6 points higher than the fourth-ranked Japanese skater.
Zhang Jue remarked: “Before my rebirth, China had never produced a men’s singles skater eligible for the Olympic medal ceremony!”
The butterfly effect brought by my rebirth began to show its sharpness. Zhang Jue felt like he hadn’t done anything, but suddenly, in his memory, Shen Liu, who had been mediocre, achieved unexpected success in Vancouver.
This startled Zhang Jue, who quickly checked his computer to see if the butterfly effect had affected his bitcoins.
One, ten, a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand.
More than ten thousand bitcoins were still neatly lying in his account. Everything was fine.
Zhang Jue breathed a sigh of relief and genuinely felt happy for Shen Liu.
Due to a lack of expressiveness and not being favored by judges due to his non-Western background, Shen Liu had been mediocre in international competitions. But considering that he was a skater with the ability to perform quadruple jumps and had strong rotations and skating skills, he was not exactly weak.
Now, with his abilities earning him high scores, Zhang Jue, as a fellow countryman, genuinely congratulated him.
However, Zhang Junbao stopped Zhang Jue from making a phone call.
“Don’t call him. Shen Liu’s mindset has always been unstable. Praising him now will only add pressure. Just send a text message saying ‘good luck.'”
Zhang Junbao, with a serious expression on his baby face said: “Two years ago, when he performed perfectly in the short program at the World Championships, everyone praised him. But in the free program, he… it was a disaster!”
Zhang Jue was puzzled: “With such a fragile mindset, how did he reach his current position?”
His uncle sighed: “Because he’s the only one in the whole country who can do a quadruple jump.”
In a vast field, Shen Liu was the only seedling. Who else could be called the top in the absence of Shen Liu?
Zhang Junbao thought that, barring any surprises, his nephew might also face a similar situation in the future. He might have to fight alone on the international stage as a single seedling.
If Zhang Jue could really skate to that level in the future… on the road to elite competitions, many talents had prematurely ended their careers due to injuries.
Three days later, the technically superior Russian skater, with excellent performance, fell to second place due to a recurring knee injury during the free program. The American skater, with an error-free performance, claimed the top spot, and the Japanese skater surprisingly secured third place.
As for Shen Liu, he suffered an ankle injury on the eve of the competition and had to skate with a sprained ankle, and ultimately finished fifth, below the French skater. However, this was already a new historical achievement for Chinese men’s singles in the Winter Olympics. From the sports bureau to ice skating enthusiasts, everyone was elated, praising Shen Liu for his commendable performance.
As for Zhang Jue, his task was to watch the Winter Olympics on TV and receive insights from his uncle about the technical characteristics and strengths and weaknesses of top athletes.
For instance, the American skater without a quadruple jump was not solely relying on his nationality to make a mark. To become an Olympic champion, one needed more than that.
Zhang Junbao explained: “The reason Lake can’t perform a quadruple jump is only one—he’s too tall. Being 188 cm tall determines that his center of gravity is too high, and the axis is much thicker than yours. So, the rotation speed can’t go up.”
“But his tall and lanky physique looks pleasing, his performance is good, and combined with his excellent rhythm in consecutive jumps, technical standard, and good height and distance in jumps, he smoothly entered the top men’s singles.”
Some athletes, when performing consecutive jumps, might have trouble connecting the second jump, making their movements appear sluggish. Others might rush the second jump, making their movements less aesthetically pleasing.
Lake excelled in consecutive jumps.
Xu Dela after observing for a while, asked: “Don’t this person’s music have a lot of emphasis on heavy beats?”
Zhang Junbao nodded approvingly: “Exactly. Lake’s coaching team intentionally embeds heavy beats in his program’s background music and trains him to take off and land on the ice at those key moments. You’ve seen the final effect.”
Performing jumps in rhythm makes it easier to engage the audience’s emotions. For judges, this is one aspect of expressive performance.
“With these heavy beats, the athlete can perform more smoothly while following the rhythm during the show.”
Zhang Jue, who had previously worked on the stage, naturally knew these small tricks. For example, in the previous life, when participating in talent shows, Zhang Jue biggest competitor, Yun Si, always chose music with heavy beats for his dance performances.
Contrary to what others might think, Zhang Jue, who appeared more dynamic on stage, could also showcase a nuanced and emotionally rich annual depressive stage performance when necessary.
He hadn’t expected these intricacies in figure skating competitions.
“Alright, get up and change your shoes, warm up your joints, then do 50 jumping jacks, 30 burpees, and 500 rope jumps. Warm up first. Don’t think you can lie down and be lazy just because it’s a break at home. The body’s condition needs daily training to maintain.”
By the time Zhang Jue finished warming up, Zhang Junbao had already cleaned up the fruit plate snacks on the coffee table and tossed two 4-pound dumbbells to Zhang Jue.
“On one foot, step on the coffee table, exert force on the other leg, lift the knee when pushing off the ground, and touch your elbow with the knee. Do 50 on each side. Let’s start. After that, do 30 Bulgarian squats on each side, 50 squats on the ground, and 25 firebird squats on each side.”
Zhang Jue pantingly exercised, and Zhang Junbao explained to Xu Dela: “These exercises work on the buttocks, legs, and hip joints. Strengthening these areas will improve his jumping ability.”
Currently, Zhang Jue’s jump height for a triple jump was around 30 centimeters, which was indeed low for men’s singles. Zhang Junbao felt that he needed to enhance not only his technique but also his strength.
If, and it was a big if, Zhang Jue could skate to the international stage in the future, conquering the quadruple jump was a must. The minimum jump height for a men’s singles skater to complete a quadruple jump was 50 centimeters, or half a meter.
To improve Zhang Jue’s sense of rhythm, the older cousin even played music during his training, saying it would help Zhang Jue maintain the rhythm while jumping and bouncing.
After a while, Zhang Junbao spread out the agility ladder he had brought in the corridor, allowing Zhang Jue to continue jumping and finally crawl around the entire building like a crocodile.
For athletes, these training volumes were not significant, at most preventing the body from getting dull due to prolonged rest. After finishing the climb, Zhang Jue still had energy left to play in the snow on the ground floor.
Snowflakes were falling all around, and Zhang Jue looked up at the hazy sky, a broad smile on his face. The endorphins elevated by exercise made him feel great.
Once, he had nothing. The reverse flow of time brought back everything he had lost. Sometimes, he questioned whether this world was real, whether he was still living as a lonely 24-year-old, lying in bed with instruments attached, like a plant immersed in dreams with closed eyes.
However, the warmth of sweat and the sore muscles all over his body told him that everything was real. It was the year 2010, and everyone else was alive too.
Taking a deep breath, the child rushed to the thickest snow, performed one-handed handstands, followed by side flips, right side flips, front flips, and several somersaults. Afterward, he picked up a handful of snow, threw it up, and turned to shout at Xu Dela leaning on the windowsill.
“Dela, I’m done with training. Want to come down for a snowball fight?”
Wrapped up like a bear, with a hot water bottle in his arms, Xu Dela was dumbfounded.
Is this what being an athlete mean? Their stamina and energy ware just too strong! It feels like they are a completely different species from normal people!
Actually, for Zhang Jue, training was not the hardest part. The stretching and massage after training were the most terrifying.
Proper stretching after high-intensity exercise can relieve fatigue in muscles, reduce soreness, and effectively maintain an athlete’s health. However, Zhang Junbao stretching techniques were too rough, unbearable for anyone.
If an outsider passed by Zhang Jue’s house at this time, they would hear Zhang Jue’s howls of pain even through the door.
The background music was Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake,” while Zhang Jue wailed rhythmically along with the music.
“Ah! My tendons are going to be twisted! Tendons! My tendons are going to snap!”
Zhang Junbao, bending his thighs, let the child’s toes reach the back of his head as he emotionless said: “Stop howling, I’m still holding back.”
To have a good physique, all you need is several words—eat well, sleep well, and exercise a lot.
Both exercise and sleep could be completed by athletes themselves, but family support was needed in terms of eating.
In the early morning, Xu Yan come out shivering out of the house. Anyone who knows how cold the winter in the northeastern provinces can get, knew. Breathing out white air was basic, while even the car wheels ware frozen, making it impossible to drive.
Helplessly, he could only walk one step at a time in the snow. But when he reached the market, he couldn’t find many stalls open.
He ran to the only meat stall, pointed to a piece of beef chuck without even asking for the price, and directly said: “I want this, weigh it for me.”
The stall owner was a young man with glasses, looking like a junior high school student. He put down his coaching book, picked up the beef and threw it on the scale.
“Eighty yuan.”
After buying the meat and vegetables and fruits, Xu Yan carried the ingredients in both hands. The first thing he did when he entered the house was to wash the beef, add salt, and put it in the pressure cooker.
When Zhang Jue finished training, the beef was just tenderized. Xu Yan, with a bewildered expression, poured marinade over it and stewed it until it thickened. He then took it out and cut it into thick slices.
Xu Dela said: “Dad, cut a bit more.”
Without raising his head, Xu Yan replied: “I’ve already cut a lot. If I add more meat, your brother won’t have room for rice and vegetables in his stomach.”
For Zhang Jue, the whole family now ate mixed grain rice and mixed grain mantou instead of white rice, in order to accompany him.
A pot of chicken soup was simmering, the soup noodles golden, and the rich aroma wafted far away. Xu Yan and Zhang Qingyan collaborated yesterday to kill the chicken. Chicken blood and giblets were stir-fried to add vegetables to the dinner. Both kids loved it.
Xu Yan picked up a chicken leg, held it with chopsticks, swiped it a few times with a kitchen knife, and the chicken skin came off intact. Xu Dela picked up the chicken skin and stuffed it in his mouth, along with the shredded chicken scraped off, the peeled hard-boiled eggs, broccoli, purple cabbage, and steamed buns on the plate.
The plate as big as a person’s face was piled high. When Xu Yan saw it, he thought it was enough, so he turned around and shouted.
“Little Jue, have breakfast! After you finish, your uncle will take you to report to the provincial team!”
Zhang Jue, who had risen early to exercise, had just completed the 60th Bulgarian squat. At this moment, he was hungry, and upon hearing his father’s call, he ran towards the dining table.


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