Figure Skating: I’m More Suited for the Olympics – Chapter 27 Unwilling

This time, when Zhang Jue went out, he was accompanied by a team doctor, a disciple of Old Master Qin named Yang Zhiyuan. His glasses were as thick as the bottom of a beer bottle, he was tall and sturdy, with legs thicker than Zhang Jue’s waist, exuding a strong presence.
It was said that this guy used to practice pair skating, but when his female partner suffered a severe injury, he chose to retire with her. They studied for the college entrance exam together, and his pursuit of sports medicine was all for his female partner. When his eyesight was about to break through 800 degrees, he successfully entered the realm of marriage with his partner.
How many pairs of figure skaters in the country have gotten married while still actively skating?
Yang Zhiyuan was excelled in treating injuries and massage therapy, and he was meticulous in treating young athletes.
When he took out the thermometer, it felt cold, but upon touching it, there was residual body warmth. Yang Zhiyuan examined it carefully.
“It’s probably a combination of motion sickness and discomfort due to changes in water. The last time he went to the United States, he probably wasn’t comfortable on the plane.”
Athletes can’t take medication randomly, as it can lead to issues in drug tests. So, Zhang Jue didn’t take any motion sickness medicine during his two bouts of motion sickness. Instead, he wrapped himself in a blanket and endured it in his seat.
Children naturally have lower immunity than adults, and getting sick after spending so much time on the ice was normal.
Zhang Junbao blamed himself, saying: “No wonder, both times he saw the snack cart on the plane, he didn’t feel hungry. I should have sensed that something was wrong.”
The phlegm Zhang Jue coughed up was yellowish, and his tonsils were red. The team doctor said that his fever was due to inflammation caused by streptococcus infection. Muscle soreness was a common reaction to fever, and fever was a sign that the body’s immune system was actively fighting invaders. As long as the temperature didn’t rise above 38.5, the situation was not considered severe.
“Don’t worry; Zhang Jue has a good physical foundation, and he’ll recover quickly. Some routine anti-inflammatory medicines contain ephedrine, which can lead to positive drug tests. He should drink some Shuanghuanglian oral liquid.”
As the team doctor spoke, he placed a fever-reducing patch on Zhang Jue’s forehead.
The uncle worried: “Should we cook him some ginger soup? When I was sick before a competition, Coach Song used to take care of us like that.”
The team doctor waved his hand: “That’s for wind-cold type colds. Zhang Jue tonsils are inflamed, which, in traditional Chinese medicine, is considered a heat syndrome. Ginger soup is warm in nature, and it’s not suitable for him. Understand?”
Zhang Junbao said: “Understood.”
After a series of disturbances, Zhang Jue didn’t even have dinner. However, he didn’t have much appetite to begin with, only hastily drinking a bowl of porridge. He lay down to sleep, his little face flushed, occasionally coughing.
The coaches felt uneasy. They were used to the little alligator having an insatiable appetite. Seeing him like this was unsettling.
Zhang Junbao muttered: “When he’s better, I’ll cook him stewed pig trotters.”
The uncle used to believe in eating what was good for recovery when he had injuries, so he stewed pig trotters for himself every day. Although the injuries didn’t heal, he honed his cooking skills.
Originally, Zhang Jue had good results, and the provincial team leaders planned to upgrade his diet, allowing him to enjoy the special kitchen reserved for champion athletes, breaking away from the communal pot. Unexpectedly, Zhang Junbao, to everyone’s surprise, vehemently opposed.
The uncle had also eaten from the champion’s kitchen before, but there was no one in this world who could remain a champion forever. If an athlete’s performance declined one day and they returned to the communal pot, the psychological shadow would be cruel.
People couldn’t maintain peak physical condition indefinitely, and Zhang Jue naturally couldn’t either. However, the uncle would always love his nephew. So, he didn’t let Zhang Jue eat from the special kitchen, but if Zhang Jue wanted to eat well, Zhang Junbao would personally cook for him. Even if he craved dishes that the uncle couldn’t make, the uncle would secretly buy cookbooks and practice at home.
Shen Liu thought that Zhang Junbao always went all out to protect Zhang Jue. Now that Zhang Jue was sick, he must be the one who felt the most distressed.
He suggested: “Little Jue shouldn’t eat heavy or greasy food now. Let him recover fully before stewing anything.”
Compared to stewed pig trotters, they now faced a more serious issue.
The day after tomorrow was the competition. They didn’t know if Zhang Jue could recover in time. Even if he got the fever down, his condition would definitely be affected. If the fever didn’t subside in time… should they withdraw from the competition?
Zhang Jue, who had already wrapped himself in a blanket and closed his eyes, suddenly sat up, shouting firmly: “I won’t withdraw!”
“What the heck!”
Shen Liu and the uncle were startled together. This brat wasn’t asleep?
Zhang Jue coughed, quickly drank two sips of water, and stubbornly said: “I won’t withdraw. To enter the Grand Prix Final, I must participate in two stages of the qualifiers to accumulate points. I’ve already won one stage. If I give up this stage, all my efforts in the first half of this season will be in vain!”
An athlete can only participate in two stages of the qualifiers. If he gives up this time, he’ll have to wait until next year to compete in the Grand Prix again. He didn’t want to withdraw!
Zhang Jue wasn’t very clear-headed at the moment, not knowing what was going on. Originally, he practiced figure skating to stay fit, and he participated in competitions for his uncle’s sake. But as soon as he thought about the idea of giving up the competition, an intense unwillingness surged from his heart.
His face, already red from anger, puffed up even more. Shen Liu, resisting the urge to tease the little patient, comforted him gently: “Alright, don’t withdraw. Rest for now. Once your fever is down, skate however you want. If anyone mentions withdrawal, I’ll let your uncle handle them.”
Zhang Junbao stood firm: “Wait!”
Zhang Jue looked at them steadily before slowly lying back down.
Zhang Junbao hesitated, and Coach Song, who had been wanting to speak, was afraid of disturbing the small ancestor sitting on the bed. The three big men pulled and tugged their way out of the room, closed the door, and began to talk.
Looking at Shen Liu, Coach Song said: “Little Shen, did you just comfort the kid? The probability of getting injured when competing with an illness is high. You have more experience than I do. If he performs poorly, it might affect the child’s mentality. There are still two major competitions this season— the Grand Prix Final and the Junior World Championships. If we withdraw from the Grand Prix, we can still afford it, can’t we?”
He said what Zhang Junbao wanted to say, and the uncle had no choice but to stand next to Coach Song, nodding in agreement.
“That’s right!”
Shen Liu remained silent for a while before slowly responding: “Coach Song, this is the first time Zhang Jue has shown such a strong desire to compete. I really can’t refuse him.”
Others may not see it, but Shen Liu was a sensitive person. He has always known that Zhang Jue wsn’t passionate about figure skating competitions. When dealing with the media, he is nonchalant, showing no interest in building his own image.
However, considering the good relationship he has with his fans, it’s evident that Zhang Jue has decent social skills and knows how to handle people to be likable.
Shen Liu has heard Zhang Jue’s statements about “being an athlete with no benefits” before, and he couldn’t refute them. Clearly, Zhang Jue doesn’t plan to skate for the long term. Now, his dedicated training effort is probably partly for Zhang Junbao.
In reality, it was Shen Liu who recruited Xu Chuo into the provincial team. Zhang Jue’s attitude towards figure skating was the main reason Shen Liu supported Xu Chuo’s entry into the provincial team.
Zhang Jue seemed to lack any passion or dedication for figure skating, and as a coach, it was only natural for Shen Liu to seek out more talented individuals. After all, it’s not like they would stop being coaches just because Zhang Jue might not skate in the future.
Until today, Shen Liu has changed his view of Zhang Jue for the first time. He thought that if Zhang Jue really wanted to compete, as a coach, he would support Zhang Jue all the way.
Zhang Jue was his first big apprentice, the young man he entrusted his dreams to. Shen Liu’s expectations for Zhang Jue even surpass those he had for himself.
In Zhang Jue, he sees the hope of becoming a world champion, and he has invested his whole heart in Zhang Jue. He loved Zhang Jue!

That night breeze gently blew through the corridor. In the heat of October in the magical city, Shen Liu turned his head to look outside the window. He noticed a patch of dark clouds being slightly blown away by the wind, revealing the starlight behind.
It was a star persistently shining through the severe light pollution over the city.
Shen Liu turned around, and a sense of emotion surged in his chest. He thought, even if the kid kept saying that being a figure skater is not good, he still wanted to win.
On the day of the short program, Zhang Jue was still running a continuous low fever. However, once he withdrew, it meant giving up the journey of the Grand Prix automatically. Despite Zhang Jue’s stubborn expression, the nagging of his uncle, and Coach Song’s sighs, he stepped onto the ice under Shen Liu’s worried gaze.
Zhang Jue wore a mask during the draw, and his voice was hoarse. Those who knew him were aware that he was sick, but they didn’t expect the kid to be so stubborn, refusing to give up despite the circumstances.
He still competed despite being ill.
Sun Qian happened to be present, so she came over and asked: “Is Zhang Jue’s illness better? How is he doing?”
“He’s not better,” Zhang Junbao said, holding onto Zhang Jue’s coat with a serious expression. “He insisted on competing. You know, athletes are not willing to withdraw voluntarily in front of a competition. I really couldn’t bear to force him to withdraw… and this is the result.”
Sun Qian was momentarily stunned, then nodded slowly. “Oh, so he’s quite stubborn. How about you? Did he argue with you to go on stage despite your objections?”
Zhang Jue did argue.
Upon hearing the response, Sun Qian was filled with surprise. Any good athlete inevitably possesses a competitive spirit, unwilling to accept failure, and full of fighting spirit. As a coach for many years, Sun Qian had seen countless athletes push through injuries, but he never expected Zhang Jue to be one of them.
Zhang Jue was the most talented male singles skater that the old coach has ever seen, with jumping talent and performance skills good enough to make any coach remember and itch to train him.
Given Sun Qian’s personality, he should have tried to recruit Zhang Jue into the national team back during the qualifying competition. The reason he didn’t do so is because he remembered Zhang Junbao saying that Zhang Jue had no intention of becoming an athlete.
Being an athlete is tough. Training results wa a body full of injuries, and success as a world champion was also not guaranteed. Even if they become champions, there’s no guarantee of wealth. Within the sports fan community, success was often the only criterion, and if an athlete’s performance was poor, they receive harsh criticism. Anyone who’s been in sports long enough knows how brutal it could be.
Not wanting to become an athlete was a normal choice. Sun Qian thought Zhang Jue was a smart kid for not wanting to be an athlete. He looks good, can dance ballet, and sing. Perhaps there are broader paths for him to explore.
How could such a smart kid do something impulsive like competing while sick?
Even Zhang Jue himself was puzzled when he stood in the center of the ice. He had experienced the risk of sudden death from overtraining before. Why was he being foolish now?
Figure skating was costly, and it doesn’t bring in money. Zhang Jue couldn’t become a top skater, and he couldn’t even secure a reserved spot for a top university. Every time during the draw, he would be looked at with pity by staff and opponents, reminding him of how bad his luck was.
In the past, knowing he would lose, he still trained hard to showcase the best performance on stage. Now, even knowing he would make mistakes in a terrible condition, he stepped onto the cold ice.
Even after experiencing death once, he couldn’t rid himself of the habit of doing thankless things. He was truly foolish.
However, when the music of “Black Swan” started playing, Zhang Jue’s mind went blank in an instant. Before he could react, he had already begun to dance to the music.
In H City, Madam. Miya turned on the television and watched the young man’s performance. Gradually, the former chief dancer of the ballet troupe revealed an astonished expression.
She muttered in Russian: “Rare, he can still dance so seriously.”
Since its inception, this program of “Black Swan” had never been so eye-catching. Seeing an athlete giving their all in the performance, the audience’s enthusiasm seemed to ignite their own passion.
Chen Zhu watched Zhang Jue’s performance and exclaimed: “Vitality is overflowing. As an athlete, he vividly portrays the swan’s posture, not losing to professional dancers.”
The expressiveness was outstanding!
In her eyes, Zhang Jue’s expressiveness talent was even more terrifying than his jumping talent. Before Zhang Jue, Chen Zhu had never seen a single skater with such outstanding expressiveness.
The last time she was so captivated by a program was the ice dance champions of the 90s, the duo who won consecutive gold medals at the Winter Olympics. However, ice dance focuses on performance, and how can a single skater who specializes in technique compete with them?
Even with a brain still muddled due to the ongoing fever during the competition, Zhang Jue’s performance managed to convey the cunning and seduction of the Black Swan. Although he couldn’t interpret it well in this state, the performer’s unaware focus and emotional dedication gave the performance a tremendous infectious power.
Zhang Jue fell on the 3F jump, almost falling during the spin, but when the competition ended, the not-quite-full stadium was nearly overturned by thunderous applause.
Even though Zhang Jue made a mistake, this was undoubtedly the most exciting performance of the day!
In a daze, Zhang Jue walked to the kiss & cry, and after a while, his score was displayed.
This was the lowest short program score Zhang Jue had received since the beginning of the competition. The child’s eyes were slightly resentful and reddened.
He clenched his fists, and his expression became unprecedentedly determined.
Now, Zhang Jue no longer cared about whether he was being foolish or not. His mind was filled with one thought…
“In the free skate, I will definitely make up for the lost points!”

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Fish_Who_Loves_Being_Salted_2.0

    Hi, did we miss 26?
    And thank you for the chapter!!

    Xiao Jue, you’re definitely gonna do ur best for free style and earn those points back!!!!!!🥳🥳🥳🥳

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