Figure Skating: I’m More Suited for the Olympics – Chapter 31 Sisters and Brothers

At exactly 6:00 PM, Xu Chuo and other provincial team athletes joined Coach Ming Jia for the sliding class.

Coach Ming Jia adopted the Tabata exercise philosophy. Once the music started, athletes had to begin skating at maximum speed, exchanging between left and right turns (one of the figure skating step techniques). After 20 seconds, they stopped, took a 10-second rest, and then resumed the sprint.

This cycle repeated for 8 sets, which equaled 4 minutes. Ming Jia would then have them switch from turns to other step techniques.

This training method not only improved stamina but also enhanced skating abilities. Initially, Zhang Junbao was dissatisfied with Zhang Jue’s stamina and high body fat for an athlete. Therefore, he had him perform sprints using the Tabata rhythm.

Upon seeing this, Ming Jia believed it was an effective method to train athletes, so he incorporated it into the sliding class. Since joining the H Province team, Xu Chuo not only made progress in her skating but also improved her stamina. However, strict weight control for female singles skaters meant Xu Chuo often found herself in a state of longing for food.

Yes, just like Zhang Jue, the senior brother and sister were known for running faster than the track and field team.

Naturally, Zhang Jue had to undergo this foundational training. This was their last training session of the afternoon, also known as the collective class.

Zhang Jue’s maximum sprint speed on the ice was astonishing. Ordinary single and pair skaters couldn’t catch up, except for an adult ice dance pair who was somewhat on par with him.

However, skating was the core technique in ice dance. Being nearly equal to Zhang Jue, rather than surpassing him, was enough to make the ice dancers present feel ashamed.

It was embarrassing that they couldn’t even outskate a youth singles skater.

Chasing after her senior brother was also very strenuous for Xu Chuo. When she was half-dead tired, a boy with a pot lid haircut silently kept up with her.

This boy, named Cha Hanbuhua that started training here just last week. He was 10 years old, studying in the fourth grade at the nearby Guihua Xiang Elementary School, near San Zhong. His father passed away and his mother sold beef and mutton in the market, and he had an older brother studying at San Zhong.

From a single-parent family and lacking money for private coaching, Cha Hanbuhua usually skated on the wild ice in the park. Despite the rough training, he surprisingly suffered few injuries and managed to practice four types of jumps within two weeks.

Zhang Junbao, taking his two nephews to feed pigeons, ride horses, and take photos in the park on weekends, noticed Cha Hanbuhua stumbling while practicing jumps on the park’s wild ice rink.

The child had a sturdy frame unique to Mongolian people, lacked air rotation speed, but had a surprisingly high jump height. Zhang Jue went over and chatted with him for a while, learning a lot about him.

It turned out that, initially, Cha Hanbuhua thought Zhang Jue was just an elementary school student like him due to their similar height. So, he had no guard up and answered whatever Zhang Jue asked.

The child had learned ethnic dance but had not specifically trained in figure skating. All his jumps were self-learned by observing others in the park

Zhang Junbao was surprised and thought this seemed like a genius. So, Zhang Jue smoothly exited, and his uncle conducted a few tests, then immediately called Song Cheng.

In short, Cha Hanbuhua was now arranged to join the city team. He receives a monthly subsidy (the main reason his family agreed to let him train here), and considering his training location at the provincial team, he also gets free nutritious meals at the provincial team canteen every day. Song Cheng has no intention of letting go of this talent.

Only Zhang Jue knows that fortunately, he managed to convince Cha Hanbuhua to come here. Otherwise, in another year, Cha Hanbuhua would have been picked up by a coach from J Province passing through and become teammates with Huang Ying and Guan Lin.

In his previous life, when Jin Zixuan was frequently in bad shape during competitions, Cha Hanbuhua was always the reliable one to step up. As a result, he was affectionately called “Cow Brother” by figure skating fans.

During the National Championships, fans even shouted slogans for him: “Cow brother, cow brother, the most reliable cow brother, our respected and adorable second brother of the Mongolian ethnic group.”

Cha Hanbuhua’s biggest weakness was his poor foundation, but he had incredible perseverance. It was said that his body was extremely robust, and no matter how hard he trained, he hardly ever got injured. Therefore, one year before Zhang Jue’s death, at the “ripe age” of 20, Cha Hanbuhua completed his first quadruple jump. Adding his performance style full of Mongolian ethnic flavor, his world ranking continued to steadily rise.

Moreover, after reaching adulthood, Cha Hanbuhua’s height was 1.7 meters, and he developed quite well.

At the end of this class, instead of going to eat right away, Zhang Jue sat on the side, letting Yang Zhiyuan treat his wound.

The child was too tired and fell during the sliding class, getting cut by another athlete’s iceblade as they passed by. Now, Yang Zhiyuan was applying a bandage, advising: “After going back, don’t let the wound touch water.”

Zhang Jue, with a bitter expression, said: “You said the same thing yesterday so I haven’t showered in two days, and I already stink.”

He wasn’t the type with a strong body odor, but being an athlete meant sweating profusely every day. Not taking a shower was simply not an option.

Yang Zhiyuan remained expressionless: “Who told you that you should scrap your skin again, and this time it’s your right arm, so now you’re perfectly symmetrical.”

The child coughed, and the injury he suffered yesterday was during training for the quadruple jump. Because his jump height and rotation ability were insufficient to complete the quadruple jump, but he insisted on attempting it. He had a typical addiction to pushing himself, which gave the coaches a headache.

After treating the wound on his arm, he bent down to take off his skates.

There was a faint scar on Zhang Jue’s ankle, a result of long-term training in figure skates, where the skin rubbed against the hard surface of the skates. It was a hallmark of figure skaters.

Just by seeing this scar, without saying anything, it was either figure skating or speed skating, or perhaps ice hockey.

On Zhang Jue’s left foot’s big toe, there was a blister formed from high-intensity training. Now that the blister had burst, it hurt when he took off his socks.

From the beginning of the year until now, Zhang Jue had been back in figure skating training for almost 12 months. In this period, he not only mastered six types of triple jumps and various triple-triple combinations but also paid a considerable price.

Being young and well-protected by his elders, his ankles hadn’t shown the deformities common among figure skaters. However, these superficial injuries were already part of his daily life.

Coach Shen squatted beside him, pressing an ice pack against his ankle, looking both distressed and troubled.

“We are leaving for Beijing tomorrow. If you’re injured like this, how are we going to manage?”

Coach Zhang also squatted down to press the other foot: “It’s okay, we intentionally arrived a few days early this time. He can take a good rest since he’s always uncomfortable on airplanes. He won’t engage in high-intensity training until after the opening ceremony.”

At this moment, Zhang Jue stuffed the dirty socks into his sports bag. Coach Zhang scolded him: “What are you doing? Those socks are so smelly. Can’t you put them in a plastic bag away from things like water bottles and face towels that touch your face? Use a plastic bag to wrap them up.”

After scolding the child, Coach Zhang and other students discussed the training arrangements: “The big brother is going to compete in the Grand Prix Final. The coach has to take him to Beijing. Do you guys want to go and have a look? The team covers accommodation and meals. It’s a good opportunity to broaden your horizons, and you can also use the national team’s facilities for training.”

“If you don’t want to go, Coach Ming can take you.”

Xu Chuo stepped forward, saying firmly: “I want to go to Beijing.”

Zhang Junbao nodded and then turned to his most obedient disciple: “What about you, Hua? I asked your mom, and she said it’s up to you.”

Cha Hanbuhua scratched his head and smiled innocently: “I… I’ll go too.”

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