Figure Skating: I’m More Suited for the Olympics – Chapter 34.2 Potential

The cunning Black Swan, Odile, disguised as the Swan Princess Odette, appeared before Prince Siegfried. Her expression seemed gentle and beautiful, attracting the prince to join her in a dance.

However, the overly pure demeanor and soft, affectionate body language, combined with the Kostornaia dominated by black feathers, created a strong sense of dissonance. It wasn’t until the first set of spins ended, and the music turned rapid and chilling, like rain falling in the darkness, that the Black Swan’s conspiracy became evident.

Odile extended her hand, tempting Siegfried to confess his love to her.

The Black Swan came to life at that moment, and the audience held their breath, completely captivated by Zhang Jue.

Alex furrowed his brows: “His performance… is completely different from when he competed in the United States.”

How should he put it, Zhang Jue was undoubtedly impressive in the U.S. competition, overshadowing everyone with his outstanding expressiveness. But compared to now, Alex immediately discerned that Zhang Jue was holding back during that time.

Back then, he didn’t give it his all!

Juventus Bratov, who had just finished crying, also became solemn: “His condition is much better than last time.”

Back in Shanghai, Zhang Jue had a kind of reckless madness, but it seemed uncontrollable due to poor physical condition. Now, Zhang Jue still performed with madness, but this madness was controlled. He perfectly managed every emotion he expressed.

It’s unbelievable that a young skater in the junior category, without using any jumps in the first part, firmly captured the attention of everyone on the rink.

His decision to save all jumps for the latter part of the routine emphasized his absolute confidence. This confidence created a sense of urgency for all his competitors.

This kid definitely didn’t get here just by relying on his looks, he was not easy to deal with!

Ilya, who had been daydreaming, snapped back to reality, focusing on Zhang Jue. When the music reached the first set of consecutive jumps, he clenched his fists.

Such strong expressiveness. Faced with such a formidable opponent, even the Russian ice crown prince might have a tough time.

Hayato Teraoka paid close attention to Zhang Jue’s upper body dance movements. It was evident that this young man had a deep foundation in ballet—soft yet powerful, remarkably aesthetic. In the world of figure skating, where handsome faces abound, Zhang Jue’s combination of good looks and dancing skills gave him a significant advantage.

As the jumps began, Zhang Jue pointed his right foot on the ice, executed a standard deep outside edge takeoff, and cleanly landed a 3Lz. Surprisingly, he skipped the 3T and proceeded to a single-foot takeoff for a 3Lo.

3Lz+3Lo, one of the most challenging jumps in the advanced triple-triple sequence, with a base value of 11.1. When completed in the latter part of the program, it’s multiplied by 1.1, resulting in a base value of 12.21—completely comparable, if not superior, to the triple-triple combinations attempted by senior men, which have a base value of no more than 11.6!



Jin Zixuan, Shi Mosheng, and other skaters from the provincial teams widened their eyes in astonishment. Until the Shanghai battle just two months ago, Zhang Jue had been sticking to the 3Lz+3T, but now, he unexpectedly showcased a new triple-triple combination!

Looking at the rate of improvement, this guy might be a monster!

Even though Zhang Jue’s landing was a bit wobbly after this sequence, he quickly stabilized himself. Without a fall or a support on the ice, even with a GOE-1, he still scored an impressive 11.21 points.

As the second jump approached, from the national team’s head coach Sun Qian to fans like Chen Sijia or Qin Xuejun, and the mischievous kids from the provincial team—all were tense.

Up to this point, the number of times Zhang Jue fell during a 3F flip was as numerous as the times he participated in official competitions!

Zhang Junbao lowered his body, watching Zhang Jue intently.

And the nimble nephew, with his right foot on the outer side, touched the ice. Once again, he launched into his mesmerizing jumping style. His slender body soared into the air, and only after reaching the highest point did he start a rapid rotation.

When Zhang Jue completed a stable 3.2 rotations and landed smoothly, Zhang Junbao jumped in excitement.

Accompanied by enthusiastic applause, Shen Liu threw a fist in the air.


While Zhang Jue’s jumping style was enchanting and the 3F included an extra 0.2 rotations compared to the standard, the breathtaking sensation he created upon landing, along with the delayed rotation technique, made this jump visually stunning. It seemed like Zhang Jue possessed some extraordinary ability, freezing momentarily in mid-air.

Undoubtedly, this was the most beautiful 3F seen on the ice today! At this moment, Zhang Jue not only overcame his biggest weakness but also turned it into a highlight!

Who else could jump a 3F with such a fantastic hang time!

In these two months of intense devilish training, the results were indeed impressive.

The last jump was, of course, the 3A.

At the end of the routine, when athletes were usually exhausted, Zhang Jue lifted his leg, leaped forward, and cleanly executed the most challenging technical move of the program.

At this point, both the music and the skater’s emotions reached a climax. The little swan, adopting an illusion-like difficulty posture, entered a bowed turn, rapidly spinning eight circles. The young skater seized his floating blade, lifted it upwards, and with the climax of the music, the Black Swan unfolded its ominous wings, and the puppet-like feathers rained down on the ice.

Zhang Jue sighed in relief, quickly detaching from the emotional performance, and with a radiant smile, he greeted the audience.

As a tradition not to disturb the viewing experience, Chinese commentators usually refrained from speaking until after the program. Zhao Ning, observing the delightful demeanor of the fairy-like young boy during the salute, expressed her satisfaction, saying: “This program… is truly outstanding. The emotional tension is palpable, and his technique is exceptionally clean. It’s hard to imagine that this is a junior-level program. When that Balmán appeared, I was so amazed that I was almost speechless. This program is a perfect blend of art and difficulty—fantastic.”

Jiang Chaosheng took over: “Yes, Zhang Jue has always been an amazing kid. His talent is almost overflowing, he’s flexible, has strong endurance, excellent performance, and this kid switched to learning ballet after the age of 8. He didn’t undergo professional training for four years, returning to the ice only at the beginning of this year. But in this short time, his progress has been rapid.”

“His mindset is also very stable. He was so steady in his first competition. Look at the first set of consecutive jumps where he made a mistake. Other young athletes would easily panic in such situations, but not Zhang Jue. His performance remained brilliant. So, his on-the-spot adjustment ability is very strong, making him a typical athlete with a big heart.”

“I can even predict that as long as he skates well and avoids being knocked down by injuries or accidents, he will definitely become a future world champion.”

Jiang Chaosheng unreservedly promoted his own country hope on CCTV live broadcast, but what he said was heartfelt.

When Zhang Jue was training with the national team, Jiang Chaosheng personally guided him, knowing how much this kid could endure. It was those unimaginable efforts that allowed him to achieve this level of competitive status in such a short time.

Qin Xuejun, holding a small crocodile plush toy, hobbled down the steps with a crutch. She tossed the toy onto the ice and saw Zhang Jue bouncing over like a small bean, picking up the plush toy, showing a worried expression.

However, athletes shouldn’t stay on the competition rink for too long after the event. Qin Xuejun pointed towards the exit, and Zhang Jue had no choice but to suppress his questions and return with the plush toy.

His uncle came towards him, holding his big nephew in place and spinning around. Zhang Jue was startled and let out a loud “wow,” while Shen Liu and Song Cheng laughed at the scene.

Shen Liu draped a jacket over Zhang Jue, saying: “Come on, put on your clothes. Don’t catch a cold.”

Zhang Jue slid his arms into the jacket sleeves, bent down to wear the blade covers, and walked towards the kiss & cry. During this time, some strong-armed spectators threw crocodile plush toys at him, creating a lively scene similar to the fruit-throwing incident.

Zhang Jue had to wave and bow to the surroundings while walking. The thank-yous from his mouth didn’t stop. Finally, when he sat down, he opened a bottle of sports drink.

Zhang Junbao’s mouth was grinning: “You skated really well this time. Your technical score should be over 45.”

Shen Liu rubbed the head of the kid, not minding the hair gel on his hands: “Changing the last jump to a 3A was too risky. If it failed, it would significantly affect the completeness of the program. Judges would deduct points for the performance. Luckily, it succeeded.”

Zhang Junbao laughed heartily: “Hey, he’s just that bold and daring. As long as there are no mistakes, it’s good. If there are mistakes, I’ll scold him.”

Seeing the coaches so cheerful, Zhang Jue really couldn’t bring himself to dampen their spirits. But there were things that needed to be said.

“… Coaches, my lower back hurts. It felt like I strained it during the Balmán.”


Hearing this, the two coaches immediately stopped laughing. Zhang Junbao touched it, and indeed, there was a particularly tense muscle.

Athletes fear injuries the most, especially Zhang Junbao and Shen Liu, who retired due to injuries during their peak. They are particularly vigilant and fearful of such incidents.

Zhang Jue was only 13 years old, and he achieved his current results within less than a year of recovery training. In case he gets injured, the hopes of the entire country would be dashed again!

At this moment, Zhang Jue’s score appeared on the electronic scoreboard.

Technical score: 47.01

Performance score: 34.2

Total: 81.27

Zhang Jue’s short program unexpectedly broke the 80-point barrier

This was a score comparable to the senior division!

The entire audience erupted in cheers. Everyone knew Zhang Jue performed well, and judging by the jump configuration, they expected a high score. However, no one anticipated it would be this high!

Zhao Ning couldn’t contain his excitement and loudly announced: “Ladies and gentlemen, our young skater Zhang Jue scored 81.27 in the short program final of the Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating. This score is only 3.98 points away from the youth division world record of 85.25 set by Vasily! “

If Zhang Jue hadn’t made a small mistake in that consecutive jump or if the judges had been a bit lenient with the performance score, this record would have been broken!

Jiang Chaosheng took off his glasses, wiped the corners of his eyes, and said with emotion: “Truly deserving of Zhang Jue. This kid is so outstanding! I am genuinely proud of him.”

The camera then shifted to Ilya and Hayato Teraoka, two athletes who hadn’t performed yet. Ilya’s expression had turned serious, and Hayato Teraoka took off his jacket, wearing a stern expression as if going to battle.

The chubby old coach held his jacket and called out: “Hayato.”

Hayato Teraoka nodded calmly: “I know my technical base score is not as good as his.”

He lacked the terrifying stamina and absolute confidence to push all jumps to the second half. Moreover, he couldn’t make on-the-spot changes to the technical arrangement of the program. Most importantly, although Hayato Teraoka had a 3A, he lacked the technique of incorporating a 3lo during consecutive jumps.

“But he can’t maintain the same configuration in the free skate. Moreover, his consecutive 3lo jumps are obviously not proficient. I will strive for clean jumps, reduce the gap in the short program score, and then catch up in the free skate.”

This 15-year-old boy was clearly a big-hearted athlete. He patted the dasher board, gliding towards the center of the rink.

On the other side, Zhang Jue, holding the plush toy, was led into the athletes’ corridor. Shen Liu immediately found a chair for him to sit, and his uncle pulled Yang Zhiyuan over.

Yang Zhiyuan was pulled over unsteadily, and when he arrived, he immediately rolled his eyes.

He asked Zhang Jue: “You felt uncomfortable when jumping the 3lz into the 3lo, didn’t you?”

Zhang Jue, a bit confused, raised his head and thought for a moment, then nodded obediently: “Yes, I pulled something at that time, but it quickly got better. Isn’t the back pain from doing the Balmán?”

“No, this is clearly a strain of the lower back muscles. There’s hardly any time to build up force in consecutive jumps, and your jumping technique relies on your lower back strength. Later, you even did a Balmán. You could endure it before because your body was good, and feeling uncomfortable is normal.”

Yang Zhiyuan patted the medical kit, using a relaxed tone to comfort the young athlete: “Alright, it’s just a normal strain. It didn’t hit any critical areas. Apply an ice pack first, and after receiving your small medal, come find me for acupuncture.”

Zhang Junbao and Shen Liu exchanged a glance, both wearing unpleasant expressions.

Once injuries appear, they are not something that can be healed in just one or two days. The free skate is tomorrow. If Zhang Jue has a lower back injury, even if it’s not severe, it could be fatal.

This kid specifically proposed increasing the difficulty of the jumps for the gold medal!

Zhang Jue sat in the chair, swaying his legs. He blinked and said: “Then let’s change the jump plan.”

He stood up, speaking calmly: “I don’t think the lower back pain is too severe. So, as long as we change all the 3lo jumps in the free skate, I should be able to complete the free skate without any issues. With my advantage in the short program, I can still make it to the awards podium. If the opponent falters, I can even contend for the gold medal. So, can I start icing now?”

Yang Zhiyuan unexpectedly glanced at him: “Of course, you can.”

This current team doctor and former national-level pair skater, holding the ice pack, marveled in his heart. Zhang Jue’s big heart was not in vain; it’s just like Zhang Junbao back in the day. Seeing his big nephew get injured, Zhang Junbao’s face turned as dark as carbon.

Good physical talent or a good mindset are not hard to find. After all, China is so vast; there will always be talents emerging. What’s rare is someone like Zhang Jue, who excels in both talent and mindset. Only such individuals can withstand the cruelty and setbacks of competitive sports, steadily climbing toward the top.

Seeing Zhang Jue’s reaction after the injury, Yang Zhiyuan’s inner thoughts aligned with those of Jiang Chaosheng.

This kid will definitely become a world champion in the future.


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