Figure Skating: I’m More Suited for the Olympics – Chapter 32 Language

The Figure Skating Grand Prix Final officially began on December 9th, and Zhang Jue arrived in Beijing on December 5th.
This time, he didn’t bother hiding his tendency to feel dizzy on flights. Upon arriving at the hotel, he skipped dinner and crashed onto the bed, sound asleep. Cha Hanbuhua, the little boy sharing the room with him, handled his luggage with utmost care, afraid of disturbing his senior’s deep slumber.
Leaning against the doorway, Xu Chuo gestured: “Han, come here.”
The two kids took the elevator to the second floor. The second floor of this comprehensive hotel housed a tea room, and along the corridor was a floor-to-ceiling window. The two kids leaned against the window, observing a bus parked at the hotel entrance. Athletes wearing jackets with maple leaf patterns continuously disembarked.
A group of reporters surrounded the athletes, creating a scene reminiscent of stars surrounding the moon.
Xu Chuo whispered: “Those are Canadian athletes. Ice dance is their strong event. Han, look at the two who just got off.”
Cha Hanbuhua looked over. A tall and handsome white male was assisting an enchanting Latin beauty as they descended from the bus. He casually took her bag and slung it over his shoulder.
The little boy couldn’t help but exclaim: “They look so good.”
“They are the ice dance champions from the Vancouver Winter Olympics, the male partner is Zhu Lin, and the female partner is Stephanie. They are 19 and 21 years old respectively, hailed as the most talented ice dance couple since the 90s in the Grand Prix series.”
Xu Chuo shrugged: “Actually, their skill level is not much different from the runner-ups. The main reason they secured the championship was that the Vancouver Winter Olympics were hosted in Canada, and they are the best-looking pair in this edition of the Winter Olympics…”
Figure skating is a beauty-oriented sport. Athletes with high aesthetics tend to stand out. Zhu Lin and Stephanie’s good looks earned them the title of the most eye-catching athletes of the Vancouver Winter Olympics by the media when they participated for the first time.
Cha Hanbuhua, somewhat confused, asked: “So, if Senior participates in the Olympics later, can he also get more points?”
Xu Chuo shook his head: “His face might offset some of the negative scores, but gaining points is impossible.”
Canadian athletes enjoy a level of treatment that they can’t compare to.
Because figure skaters are fed with the food of youth, their faces are full of collagen. Plus, with indoor training and minimal exposure to the sun, each one not only has excellent skin but also a good physique with great proportions. They all look stunning.
Cha Hanbuhua knew that his bone structure was too sturdy. He could never wear a shiny costume like Senior, gracefully floating on the ice, and his jumps weren’t light enough. Besides, he was particularly dark, and in the evening, he could disappear. The little boy felt that he would never enjoy the benefits of good looks in his lifetime. If he wanted good results in the future, hard work was the only way.
Xu Chuo continued to chatter with Cha Hanbuhua about how foreign pairs in pairs skating and ice dance liked to create a ‘couple’ image. For example, Zhu Lin already had a girlfriend, but to make their performance more ‘couple-like,’ they would act ambiguously whenever they appeared in front of the media.
Generally, in this type acted ambiguity, it either turned real in the end, and the original partner sadly left, or when these athletes retired, the ‘couple’ disintegrated. The once lovely love boat sank, leaving countless fans of the couple heartbroken, shouting phrases like “flipping another ship” that were incomprehensible.
Unfortunately, ice fans and the media were particularly fond of this routine.
Of course, because many pairs in pair skating and ice dance have been partners since childhood, growing up together, they eventually became real couples.
In the Figure Skating Grand Prix series, the youth and senior divisions compete separately during the regional stages, and the competition venues are also different. However, the Grand Prix Final combines both divisions for competition. The less popular youth division competitions take place in the afternoon, while the senior division competitions are scheduled for the evening.
After the intense competition in the regional stages, only the top six in each event make it to the Grand Prix Final. They are considered the strongest six athletes/couples on Earth, proving their prowess in the first half of the 10-11 season.
To overcome jet lag, athletes from across the ocean in Canada and the United States have already arrived in Beijing. As North American figure skaters have a strong track record, whenever a team bus arrives at the hotel entrance, Xu Chuo and Cha Hanbuhua can see flashes of camera lights.
For figure skating fans, these athletes are the stars they admire.
Xu Chuo knew all the famous figure skaters, introducing each one to Cha Hanbuhua. When the American team arrived, she pointed at an Asian athlete.
“Look, that’s Angus Joe, whom Senior defeated at the U.S. competition.”
Cha Hanbuhua glanced and immediately withdrew his gaze: “Senior is more handsome.”
Xu Chuo wholeheartedly agreed.
Yes, Senior was indeed the most handsome.
When Zhang Jue woke up, the sky outside the window was just beginning to lighten. He checked his phone, it was six in the morning.
He had been called up at eight yesterday evening to have a salad brought by his uncle, then rushed back to bed. Now, after calculating, he realized he had intermittently slept for 12 hours. Zhang Jue was completely awake and feeling relaxed.
The child quietly completed his morning routine, changed into sportswear, applied band-aids to the blistered areas, moved his joints in the corridor, and left the hotel. He started jogging along the street. The cold December northern wind hit him head-on, making Zhang Jue shiver.
Fortunately, running made him warm.

He jogged for half an hour and, on his way back to the hotel, stopped by a convenience store. There, he saw a handsome Slavic boy standing at the counter, gesturing and talking with the store clerk.
The clerk looked confused. She tried to repeat her friendly inquiry in English: “Um, can you please tell me what you need?”
Zhang Jue, holding two bottles of water, stood there dumbfounded. Seeing their struggle to communicate verbally, he approached the store clerk and greeted: “Sister, do you have paper and a pen?”
Zhang Jue saved the two pitiful individuals using sign language. Through writing, he learned that the blond boy wanted to know where he could buy bananas.
Bananas, rich in potassium, can effectively alleviate muscle fatigue, enhance satiety, and raise blood sugar levels, making them one of the favorite fruits for athletes. Even Zhang Jue was accustomed to eating a banana 15 minutes before a competition.
Zhang Jue sighed: “There are no bananas here. Come with me.”
He beckoned with his finger.
“Follow me.”
At this time, the high-end fruit shops that were ubiquitous in the future had not yet become popular. Zhang Jue was not very familiar with this area, so he directly took the two people to the nearest vegetable market.
The early-morning vegetable market was lively, with people flowing everywhere. Ilya felt somewhat lost. The handsome boy had been saying “follow me” to him, so Ilya followed him closely.
With his spoken language proficiency, it would be difficult to ask for directions if he got lost.
Zhang Jue casually grabbed the sleeve of the Russian ice prince and led him to a fruit stand, pointing at a bunch of bananas.
“Boss, how much for the bananas?”
The boss weighed them and gave a price: “12 yuan.”
“I’ll also take a box of pineapples.”
“20 yuan.”
Zhang Jue paid and used the scissors the fruit stand provided to cut half of the bananas, handing them to Ilya.
“There you go, banana.”
Ilya Safoshenko held the bananas and asked Zhang Jue: “How much?”
Zhang Jue heard this clearly and quickly waved his hand, saying: “No need to pay; bananas are very cheap.”
Bananas are one of the cheapest fruits, and Zhang Jue felt awkward asking for such a small amount of money. Moreover, Ilya’s wallet only had bright red hundred-yuan bills, and Zhang Jue couldn’t make change, nor did he bother to find it.
At this moment, Zhang Jue once again missed the convenience of using mobile payment QR codes. Oh, wait, QR codes waren’t popular abroad.
Near the entrance of the market, there was a store specializing in soy products. The owner ordered the freshest tofu pudding. As Zhang Jue passed by, he stared at the tofu pudding with an eager look for a while. The scent of freshly fried dough sticks wafted from the adjacent breakfast shop.
Carbohydrates and fats had a fatal attraction for athletes like Zhang Jue, who were forced to maintain low body fat. Zhang Jue reluctantly averted his gaze, lowered his head, and walked back. Ilya still closely followed his steps, with a hint of curiosity in his eyes.
Zhang Jue’s appearance and physique were very distinctive, unforgettable once seen. Ilya recognized Zhang Jue’s identity at first glance, otherwise, he wouldn’t easily walk with someone he just met.
Ilya believed that Zhang Jue had also recognized him. The evidence was that they didn’t exchange names, but when they entered the hotel elevator, Zhang Jue naturally pressed buttons for floors 21 and 22.
The fact that the Russian delegation stayed on the 21st floor was not a secret. Originally, they were on the 23rd floor, but yesterday a crazy male figure skating fan sneaked in and proposed to the current world’s number-one ladies’ singles skater, Veronica. The incident caused a stir, and the event organizers changed their floor to prevent further issues. Athletes on this side were well aware.
Ilya reached his floor first. He took a few steps, then suddenly turned around, pointed to himself, and smiled.
Zhang Jue also pointed to himself.
“Zhang Jue.”
In the next instant, the elevator doors closed.
They had one more unspoken sentence in common. Due to the language barrier, they couldn’t say it out loud: “Looking forward to competing with you.”

Ilya had a premonition that this exceptionally talented Chinese youth would, like Hayato Teraoka, be his opponent for many years in the arena.
Zhang Jue sat cross-legged on the bed with a serious expression. He then peeled open a banana, took a bite, and chewed.
This was Ilya Safoshenko, who took over as Russia’s number one after Vasily retired. Although he didn’t seem very approachable, he wasn’t as stern as the rumors suggested.
If only I could defeat Ilya before retiring. That way, when boasting or bragging later on, I could say I’ve beaten a world champion.
Zhang Jue knew that his skills were still quite rudimentary compared to Ilya’s. Unless he could execute a quadruple jump, he would only have a 30% chance of winning against this reigning champion in the junior category.
However, Zhang Jue’s quadruple jump could only be described in one word—amateurish.
Zhang Jue had a great desire to improve, but he was self-aware. His aerial rotation capability was only at the level of 3.6 to 3.8 rotations. If Zhang Jue’s technique was a bit dirtier, performing an early rotation and cleverly stealing some degrees, he could cheekily claim to have completed a quadruple jump, deceiving the laypeople.
Unfortunately, Zhang Jue happened to be thin-skinned.
Wait a minute, Zhang Jue suddenly remembered something. In competitions, judges determine the rotation count based on whether it’s not less than the required number and within 90 degrees. In that case, the jump can be considered valid, and the judges will award or deduct Grade of Execution (GOE) based on the skater’s execution.
A quadruple jump requires a rotation of 1440 degrees. Zhang Jue, giving it his all, could perform a rotation of 3.8, which is 1360 degrees.
It seemed… he was only short by 80 degrees within the 90-degree range.
However, if Zhang Jue went all out in the rotation, he wouldn’t have the energy to land properly. His leg and core strength were insufficient, and the impact from the quadruple jump landing was too great for Zhang Jue to stabilize.
To further enhance Zhang Jue’s stability, Zhang Junbao had already arranged muscle-building training for him. Zhang Jue was instructed to eat voraciously, gain weight, and convert that weight into muscle. Since the training was foreseeable hard work and the Grand Prix Final was approaching, Shen Liu decided to postpone the training until after the Grand Prix Final.
The Grand Prix Final was in January, and the World Junior Championships were at the end of March. By then, Zhang Jue would have over two months to focus on strength training. Although muscle-building couldn’t be rushed, he could undoubtedly further improve himself before the World Junior Championships. The human body of young people had numerous potentials to exploit, creating astonishing miracles.
For Zhang Jue, the Grand Prix Final wasn’t a highly challenging competition. After all, Jin Zixuan and Cha Hanbuhua were still relatively inexperienced. There were no domestic opponents who could compete with Zhang Jue.
Zhang Jue made a decision. He wanted to start strength training earlier, right after the Grand Prix Final!
Zhang Jue didn’t need to be in such a hurry. The time he had spent recovering from training was less than a year. In everyone’s eyes, as long as he trained for another two years, his future would undoubtedly be bright.
But Ilya and Hayato Teraoka were both two years older than Zhang Jue. They would enter the senior category together in the next season when they turned 15. If Zhang Jue wanted to compete against them in the junior category, it had to be this season.
Based on his memories from his previous life, Zhang Jue judged that he would start developing in the year of promotion. His optimal condition only existed before development.
So, the Grand Prix Final and the World Junior Championships were Zhang Jue’s only chances to challenge the two future world champions.
Zhang Jue thought: “I’m still unwilling. Even if I’m destined to be a shooting star, I want to be the most regrettable and unforgettable shooting star.”
During the last dance of the talent show, Zhang Jue held onto this thought. Now, he still felt the same.
Vasily wasn’t good at adjusting to jet lag, and with fans antics last night, he woke up late.
When the world champion almost panicked at the sight of his junior missing, Ilya returned to the room just in time, holding bananas.
Vasily, looking at the bananas, had a puzzled and worried expression: “Ilya, where did you get these bananas? Did fans give them to you?”
Anyway, it definitely wasn’t purchased. With Ilya’s language skills, even Vasily, a Russian, couldn’t understand. Even if the Chinese fruit shop owner wanted to break through the language barrier to earn money from this kid, it would be impossible to bypass the language barrier and get this kid’s money.
Ilya replied: “Jue gave them to me.”

At this moment, Hayato Teraoka plane finally arrived in Beijing. His coach was a chubby old man who walked slowly, and the team doctor was a visually striking young man with a mohawk. The three of them standing together looked quite awkward, attracting the attention of countless passersby.
The first thing Hayato Teraoka did upon arriving at the airport was to look for the duty-free shop.
Holding the list he received from his mom and sister before departure, he asked the ground staff in peculiar Chinese accent: “Excuse me… Where is the duty-free shop that sells cosmetics?”


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