Figure Skating: I’m More Suited for the Olympics – Chapter 37 Records

After the last skater, Juventus Bratov, began his free skate program, he finally regained his form and delivered a steady performance that won applause from the audience.
Zhang Jue overheard the gossip from his second martial sister and junior martial brother: “Juventus Bratov didn’t eat anything this noon at all, just to avoid stomach issues during the performance.”
The girl who waved the Czech flag was also present today. After Juventus finished his program, she stood by the barrier holding a flower wreath. As Juventus Bratov skated by, he lowered his head, allowing her to put the wreath on him. The two young people hugged each other.
Many spectators who noticed the situation couldn’t help but exclaim: “Wow!” A wave of friendly applause echoed on the rink.
Zhang Jue glanced over there, sighing with envy.
Juventus Bratov, even though he was in the junior category, was no longer a single dog. In comparison, Zhang Jue who was handsome and smart, remained single for two lifetime. It showed the whimsy of fate.
The second skater was the French Alex. When he came onto the ice, he kept glancing towards the audience, but Juventus, when looking at the audience, had a face full of tenderness for his girlfriend. Alex, on the other hand, seemed nervous, as if there was a tiger ready to pounce from the stands.
Shen Liu took a glance over there, shaking his head. “Martin made it to the final of the senior category this time. He’s in the stands watching Alex’s performance. No wonder the kid looks particularly nervous.”
Martin, the French senior figure skater, who was also the bronze medalist at the Vancouver Winter Olympics and Alex’s senior brother. It was said that he had a very strict personality and showed no mercy in disciplining his junior.
Under the deathly stare of his senior brother, Alex managed to perform a successful 3A at the beginning of his program. However, after completing this 3A, Alex fell during his second jump, a 3Lz.
After this fall, Martin’s expression became even scarier. The good-natured director especially gave him several close-up shots. When that handsome face, blackened like charcoal, appeared on the TV, many unsuspecting young figure skating fans were almost scared to tears.
After Alex’s fall, his mentality plummeted from the cloud that he had just climbed in less than 10 seconds. He climbed to his feet, drooping his head, skated a few steps, then raised his head, showed a smile, and continued his enthusiastic performance.
This scene amused the insiders, but at the end of the program, Alex successfully changed his personal best score in the free skate.
The young lad immediately threw a few flying kisses to the camera.
The bald coach turned his head to glance at the audience. He happened to see his eldest disciple sighing while looking up. Whether it was relief or helplessness, Italy’s number one, Maquen, put his arm around him and joked.
Forget it, forget it. Since Alex’s performance was okay, maybe he would get less beating when they returned.
Angus Jo’s performance didn’t have much to talk about. He made two small mistakes, including a jump that was clearly under-rotated, and a failed quad. However, the judges weren’t too harsh. At the end of the competition, he still managed to lead over Juventus, standing below Alex.
Without any surprises, these three wouldn’t have a chance to step onto the podium. After Angus Joe, Ilya took off his jacket, revealing the red costume underneath.
The blond boy’s hair was styled into a big quiff, and his gaze was sharp.
As the music started, some figure skating fans expressed surprise: “It’s ‘Carmen.'”
As one of the enduringly popular music choices in figure skating: “Carmen” has been skated by many renowned athletes, including the 1988 Olympic Ladies’ Singles champion, the 1998 Olympic Ice Dance silver medalists, the 2002 Olympic Men’s Singles silver medalist, and many more. They all successfully interpreted this piece, making it a timeless selection in figure skating.
However, there was also no doubt that this piece, with Carmen as the main character was intended for a female role, and when a male skates to this piece, he needed to perform in a cross-dressing manner.
Ilya was a typical jumper-style figure skater, relying on jumps as his primary weapon, and his performance could only be described as flawless.
Since the beginning of this season, this young man has been entangled with a 3A with a success rate of fifty-fifty, and adapting to his post-puberty body. Today, the Russian crown prince has finally adjusted his condition and started to exert himself in the performance aspect.
The bold and wild Carmen unfolds on the ice like a vibrant flower. Accompanied by the melody of “Love is Like a Free Bird,” the young, graceful, and slender figure of the boy spins and dances on the ice. Though still youthful, his performance was lively and passionate.
A judge secretly judged: ” Safoshenko performance is not mature, but it is sincere enough. You can see that he has been trying to combine skills and performance, and today is the first successful attempt.”
Sergei, the Russian skater showed a surprised expression: “I thought Ilya only had one expressionless state. Today, he actually changed expressions along with the theme of the music. Not bad.”
Vasily shook his head: “No, it’s not good enough. Carmen is not a theme suitable for his personality. Many parts are too stiff.”
Moreover, there are too many traces of imitation in this performance, and some parts are completely copied from the legendary female singles skater of 1988. The body language during the cross-dressing also carries the characteristic shyness of a young person, not so carefree.
However, as a newcomer, having such expressive power was already quite good. If not for the comparison with Zhang Jue, Vasily might have already been satisfied with his junior’s performance.
Vasily subtly glanced at the waiting area. Hayato Teraoka had already taken off his jacket, and Zhang Jue was focused on staring at the ice.
They both seemed calm.
Regardless, when Ilya’s performance ended, the audience gave a warm response.
Zhang Jue also applauded enthusiastically, full of admiration.
Truly, Ilya Safoshenko! Truly, the future leading brother of the ice-skating!
Ilya’s strength was indeed outstanding. It was the first time Zhang Jue had seen such a good performance in the junior category.
In Zhang Jue’s eyes, the blond, red-clothed, blue-eyed, slightly shy smile, and the tender body language had a unique charm. As Carmen, he might not be qualified enough, but he was certainly captivating the audience!
Many bouquets of roses were thrown onto the ice. Ilya picked up a few and waved them towards the audience.
After a while, the judges gave the final scores for this competition.
Technical Score: 83.5
Performance Score: 78.35
Free Skate Score: 161.85
Adding the short program’s 80.12, Ilya’s total score reached an impressive 241.97. Behind the total score, two symbols appeared.
WR (World Record)
MR (Meet Record)
The whole arena erupted. Many excited spectators stood up and applauded. Zhang Jue looked left and right, feeling a bit puzzled.
“What’s going on?”
Song Cheng put on his reading glasses and carefully examined the scoreboard. “Safoshenko broke the record. The total score in the junior category is a world record, and it’s also the highest total score in the Junior Grand Prix.”
Zhang Junbao flipped open his notebook. “Wow, the previous highest total score in the junior category was 239.4, set by Vasily before he moved up to the senior category.”
Shen Liu nodded: “Actually, the technical score is almost the same, but the performance score is higher. I remember last year, during the Russian Junior Grand Prix, Safoshenko, as the champion, had a performance score of only 65, which was considered high. When Hayato Teraoka competed in the All-Japan Junior Championship, his free skate performance score was only 58.”
The maximum performance score for the men’s short program is 50, and for the free skate, it’s 100. However, for young skaters in the junior category, having a performance score between 50 and 65 was normal, and surpassing 65 is considered top-tier in the junior category.
Unexpectedly, Ilya reversed roles with Carmen, and his performance score soared to a level comparable to the senior group in one go.
If we talk about a mismatch between skills and performance, Ilya’s performance was indeed impressive. However, every time the pitiful free skate performance of Zhang Jue comes to mind, the coaches of the Chinese team couldn’t help but feel a bit uneasy.
No… Our Zhang Jue may not have jumps as high and far as Ilya, but isn’t the child’s performance beating everyone in the junior group? Why does his performance score always seem to be just that much?
The more he thinks about it, the more dissatisfied Zhang Junbao becomes. While massaging his nephew’s waist, he said with determination: “Little Jue, give it your all when you go on stage! Do you hear me?”
Zhang Jue smiles readily: “Look at the way you say that, as if I’ve never given my best before.”
Upon hearing his response, Song Cheng, Shen Liu, and Zhang Junbao all chuckle.
Yes, yes, it’s as if you didn’t slack off during the test matches and the performance in the United States.
Shen Liu presses down on the child’s head, looking kind and friendly: “Since we saw your performance in Magic City, everyone has a good idea of whether you used your full strength in previous performances. Your Black Swan performance the day before yesterday was good; bring out that energy.”
Zhang Jue: “Oh.”
Alas, he shouldn’t have let these people discover how high his performance ceiling is. Now, even if he wants to slack off, he can’t. No, he won’t slack off in such an important event as the Grand Finals, right?
In theory, with Ilya performing so well in the front, the pressure on the following skaters will be very high. This is similar to Zhang Jue performing exceptionally well in the U.S. station, causing the following skaters to collapse in the competition.
But the players who come on after Ilya, such as Hayato Teraoka and Zhang Jue, are not the types to be crushed by world records.
Zhang Jue has seen all kinds of tricks during the selection, and these small scenes can’t crush him. Hayato Teraoka is just pure unwillingness to lose.
Carrying the hope of the rise of Japanese men’s singles, Hayato Teraoka has a strong sense of mission. He firmly believes that one day he will become Japan’s first men’s singles world champion in figure skating.
But it’s just the world record of the junior group, not the time to give up yet!
The fearless and somewhat childish teenager Hayato Teraoka steeds onto the ice, his eyes determined, and his aura strong.
His free skate program was “Princess Mononoke.” Seeing the young man’s costume, everyone knew he is portraying the male protagonist of “Princess Mononoke,” Ashitaka.
Zhang Jue was also a fan of Mr. Miyazaki, and as soon as he heard the name of the program, his attention become focused.
When talking about this animated film, many people first think of the ethereal voice of Mirai Midori. However, at the beginning of this program, it is the rapid drumming that signifies the arrival of a crisis, as a cursed wild boar rushes into the village of the male protagonist, Ashitaka.
As Hayato Teraoka’s program begins, Zhang Jue’s eyes light up.
This person’s skating was really strong.
Due to the issues of physique and strength, Zhang Jue’s skating was very light and fast. It’s like walking on snow without leaving a trace. The spectators feel as if they’ve just eaten a piece of Ferrero Rocher chocolate, finding the child’s skating incredibly smooth.
Hayato Teraoka skating is like having butter applied to the soles of his feet, smoothly gliding with deep edges. Ice crystals occasionally spray from the bottom of his feet, resembling a human ice shaver.
According to the principle of energy distribution, figure skaters usually place the most challenging jumps at the beginning of the program when their energy is most abundant. Hayato Teraoka first jump was…
The young man grits his teeth, creating a determined atmosphere as he taps the ice with his left foot. His body rises high, and when he lands, he awkwardly rolls on the ice, leaving a layer of ice shavings on his costume.
On the sidelines, Ilya’s eyes widen in astonishment: “Quad toe loop (4T)!”
Although 4T was the simplest and lowest-scoring jump in the quad family, there are still fewer than 10 active male singles skaters in the world who can successfully perform a 4T in official competitions.
After a while, the score for this jump appears on the big screen.
Base Value (BV): 10.3
Grade of Execution (GOE): -3
Current (Current technical score): 6.3 [Japan]
Leader (Current leading technical score): 83.5 [Russia]
According to the GOE scoring elements, if a skater makes a mistake, the entire 3 points of the GOE will be deducted, and an additional point will be deducted for a fall. However, as long as it’s fully rotated, the quad toe loop is considered successful.
So, even with a deduction of 4 points, Hayato Teraoka still scored 6.3 points, which is similar to the scores he gets for completing a triple loop or triple flip, showcasing the terrifying nature of the quad toe loop—high scores as long as it’s fully rotated.
In the second jump, Hayato Teraoka even steadily completes a 3A. Observant people can see that, given his current condition, the final score for this program will undoubtedly be high.
Shen Liu shakes his head: “It’s a pity. Performance score and program completion are intertwined. His skating and performance are stronger than Ilya by a significant margin. If he hadn’t fallen on the first jump, he might have had a real chance of winning.”
Zhang Jue nods. To be fair, compared to Ilya’s somewhat stiff reversal, Hayato Teraoka portrayal of Ashitaka is undoubtedly courageous and full of character. The overall impression is more harmonious and natural, especially the details like the costume, which are meticulously done, making the performance seamless.
Judging from his perspective, Zhang Jue would also think that Hayato Teraoka is more outstanding than Ilya.
However, when the program ends, Hayato Teraoka, exhausted, kneels on the ice. He lowers his head, forcefully taps the ice before standing up, politely bowing towards the judges’ box and the audience, wearing a dignified smile.
He probably understands in his heart that after that mistake, his chances of winning are close to none. It’s admirable how quickly this young man can adjust himself, covering the regret and unwillingness with a composed demeanor.
At this moment, Shen Liu calls out to him.
“Zhang Jue.”
“Yeah, I know.”
Zhang Jue takes off his coat, takes a deep breath.
Now, it’s his turn to take the stage.


Support translation:

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