Figure Skating: I’m More Suited for the Olympics – Chapter 41 The First Championship

“The one in my house grows especially slowly. How come Zhang Jue is growing so fast? How do you feed him?”

“Share the recipe, how is it? The one in my house also struggles to gain weight. Every time there’s an increase, it’s like a life-or-death situation. After struggling for half a year, he only gained 3 pounds of muscle this year.”

After Zhang Jue gained weight, many coaches, impressed by the results, immediately went to exchange refinement experiences with Zhang Junbao and Shen Liu. Just listening to their conversation was like a big conference of pig farmers.

At this point, Zhang Junbao felt particularly awkward. He was reluctant to say that his family just had the body type that gains weight and builds muscles quickly. He always felt that saying it out loud would only attract envy.

Shen Liu was even more embarrassed. The weight gain recipe was made by the cafeteria aunt. They ware only responsible for making sure Zhang Jue finishes everything. How would they know how much effort the cafeteria aunt put into the recipe?

“Anyway, whether it’s the pigs in the field or the athletes in the team who need to gain weight, the efficiency was quite high.”

“Jin Zixuan is the pig that struggled for half a year and only gained 3 pounds of muscle. He now looks at Zhang Jue and smiles apologetically.”

Shi Moseng sighed, he was the pig that was particularly slow to grow.

A young boy asked Zhang Jue: “You’re so efficient, it’s hard work, isn’t it?”

Zhang Jue nodded: “Yeah, they’ve recently doubled my food intake by 2.5 times in order to increase my fattening efficiency.”

Jin Zixuan and Shi Moseng fall silent. Zhang Jue blinked, looking puzzled.

“‘What do you mean?'”

“Shi Moseng looked at him subtly” ‘If you can handle a 2.5 times increase, then when you used to eat normally, weren’t you always hungry?'”

Zhang Jue laughed: ”Yes, at that time, in order to cut body fat, I was hungry every day to scratch the wall, but also at the end of the competition can eat a full meal.”

Because the diet was too controlled, during that time, whenever Zhang Jue saw food, his eyes turned green. After gaining weight, things got much better. Zhang Jue is stuffed with food every day, and now he can pass by a cake shop without a change in expression.

But when he came to Beijing, due to the emphasis on the competition, the coaching team temporarily reduced Zhang Jue’s food intake to a normal level. Zhang Jue breathed a sigh of relief.

Eating well is, of course, good, but being challenged to the limit of stomach capacity every day was not enjoyable. In his past life, Zhang Jue only had to control his diet. Sometimes he only ate salads for half a month. In this life, the first attempt to gain weight was so tormenting that the child questioned whether his stomach could handle it.

However, the cafeteria aunt who designed his diet reportedly has a Ph.D. in nutrition. After feeding countless athletes over the years, her experience was quite extensive, and there hasn’t been any report of damaging anyone’s stomach. Zhang Jue’s stomach is naturally fine.

Because he was fed so well, he now looked extremely healthy. His little face is rosy, making people want to pinch it. Recently, from his biological mother and stepfather to the coaching team, cafeteria aunt, and even Qin Xuejun, Zhang Jue has been pinched by countless people.

But the best part of him was not his face.

In figure skating, the demand for buttock and leg strength is extremely high. Techniques like the swallow style and jumps utilized the strength of these two areas. Therefore, boys who practice figure skating generally have well-shaped buttocks. Many of them can effortlessly do flamingo deep squats, demonstrating remarkable control.

Recently, Zhang Jue not only eaten but also played with various equipment like squat racks, seated leg press machines, lying leg curl machines, hack squat machines, and leg press machines. Because he trains so hard, even his walking posture was awkward at first, but on the flip side, his buttocks and thighs ware growing faster than his face.

Originally, because he was too thin, his pants were always loose. Now, except for his waist, which is still loose, he has to wear a belt when going out in jeans, everything else fits just right.

Of course, his uncle was still dissatisfied. After feeling his nephew’s muscle group, the uncle discussed with Shen Liu to increase Zhang Jue’s weightlifting volume. The reason is that his buttocks and thighs are not tight enough; they need to turn those soft fats into muscles.

Zhang Jue was really suffering. The coaches feed him like a pig, and after training, he’s as tired as a dog. This is no longer a human way of living!

However, possibly due to the right methods, Zhang Jue’s technique has not been affected by the weight gain. Even with increased strength, even his Triple Axel has become more stable.

After a while, Mi Yuan, Lu Xiaorong, Huang Ying and Guan Lin also came over to talk to them.

Lu Xiaorong’s family was said to have a satellite dish, and since they are close to Russia, they can receive quite a few channels. Now they ware gossiping about the Russian Championships.

She excitedly said: “Let me tell you, this Russian Championship was really the annual drama. From the competition to the conflicts between athletes, and even the grievances between coaching teams, it’s enough material for a 500-episode TV series!”

Everyone nodded with a blank expression, Figure skating has been in a mess since the 1990s, they all knew that.

Zhang Jue was the only one enthusiastic about it. His knowledge of the gossip in figure skating was not as deep as others. He only knows that the athletes under the coach who produced more than 20 Olympic champions for Russia have complex entanglements. This one had an abortion for that one, that one got divorced for another, and there’s one who’s always being submissive, ending up with nothing in the end… But these are all events from the 90s.

At that time, Zhang Jue hadn’t been born yet. These things were discussed by Zhang Junbao and him. His uncle also warned him solemnly that no matter how chaotic things are among European and American athletes, Zhang Jue must be honest.

Lu Xiaorong continued to gossip: “Daria, you know her, right? She’s the current queen of figure skating. But because in Russia, you can get married at 14 their love affairs can start quite early. Daria was in a relationship with the captain of the ice hockey team. After the Grand Prix Final, the guy felt that the woman’s career was rising too fast and thought she was becoming too dominant so he proposed a breakup.”

Everyone continued to nod expressionlessly, while Zhang Jue remained enthusiastic.

Lu Xiaorong continued: ‘Then, in front of the media, the guy said that Daria was so devoted to training that she didn’t spend time with him, and even went on TV to talk about how bad Daria was. Vassily is Daria’s senior, so he got into a fight with that ice hockey team captain.”

This piece of information was quite shocking. The originally expressionless people’s faces changed, making exclamations like ‘Wow.’

Zhang Jue took a step forward eagerly and asked: ‘Who won?’

Lu Xiaorong replied: “Ice hockey players are very strong. Vassily, in order to maintain his jumps, has always been thin, so he was initially at a disadvantage. But when Daria joined the battle with a folding stool, they won.”

It turned out to be a two against one!

Truly deserving of Russia, truly the fighting nation! If you want to see excitement in the figure skating world, you have to look at athletes from the Russian system!

The group of people was fed with this exciting news and felt satisfied. They asked: “What happened later?”

Lu Xiaorong continued: “Later, the Russian Skating Union punished them separately. Because ice hockey and figure skating are popular sports in Russia, and they are both the leading figures in their respective fields, there was no suspension, but they were fined quite a bit.”

“But after watching this year’s Russian Championships, Vassily still retained the title. Ilya, because his scores were so impressive, even stepped onto the awards podium in the adult category and won a bronze medal. The guy who plays ice hockey got into a fight with another team on the field and was sent to the hospital by the opponent.”

Figure skaters have limited combat abilities, but ice hockey was the kind of sport where there are tough players specifically responsible for fighting since the risk of fighting was quite high.”

After talking about the men’s singles, Lu Xiaorong complained about the women’s singles there: “The competition in Russia’s women’s singles is much more intense than the men’s singles. This time, the third-placed Serena has also developed. To ensure results, she terminated the contract with her original coach and joined Boris’s team.”

Boris was the coach of Vassily, Ilya, and Daria, a famous Russian figure skating coach who has produced six Olympic champions.

As for the gossip about Russian coaches, the athletes were not very interested and scattered to their training.

Only Zhang Jue scratched his head: “How come I remember Serena is only 14? She’s in the junior category like Ilya, right?”

Shi Mosheng casually put his arm around his shoulder: “Hey, that’s how Russian figure skaters are. Not only are they good at gossip, but their skills are also strong. Talent reserves are abundant, and it’s not uncommon for juniors to beat seniors.”

Jin Zixuan walked alongside, agreeing: “Look at the next-door Hayato Teraoka. This time at the Japan Championships, he surpassed the seniors and stood on the podium, winning a silver medal.”

“By the way, he landed his 4T in the domestic competition, although there were some issues with the rotations, but the judges at the Japan Championships recognized his quadruple jump.”

Shi Mosheng chuckled: “What’s the use of recognition in domestic competitions? It’s only when international judges recognize it that it becomes real.”

On the day the All-Japan Championships started, Zhang Jue combed his hair in the junior category’s warm-up room, tied a small braid with a rubber band behind his head, and his uncle came over to tidy his clothes, murmuring.

“The scores for juniors and seniors are calculated together, do you understand what I mean?”

Zhang Jue looked at him helplessly: “Uncle, I’m only 13!”

“But you’re the only male singles with an A-level event medal in the country!”

Uncle looked at him with anticipation: “Just based on technical configuration, you’re not worse than the seniors. Little Jue, do your best! Show me the podium of the All-Japan Championships! That’s a place your uncle has stood on before! Look, Ilya and Hayato Teraoka from next door are also on it.”

Little Jue sighed, pinching his own buttocks. He always felt that this fat would sooner or later be tortured away by Zhang Junbao.

Uncle, oh uncle, be grateful that I love you enough to endure this hardship. If not for you, who would want to pursue figure skating, a profession where body fat is kept in single digits daily and becomes even more painful during weight gain.

Thinking like this, but at the moment he stepped onto the ice, Zhang Jue couldn’t help but reveal a genuinely happy smile.

Standing on the clean and vast ice surface, he could feel everyone’s attention. The banners in the audience were mostly for him, and many figure skating fans gazed at him eagerly.

In this field, perhaps he’s not the most outstanding, but he carries so much expectation. Although it’s a bit heavy, Zhang Jue enjoys it.

“They came for me.”

The little swan pinched his earlobe, shook his head, and the shiny earrings swayed around his neck. While speeding on the ice, Zhang Jue could feel the air flowing over his skin and hair.

He paused in the center, drew a character “” (shi) on his chest, and his inner calmness settled.

Domestic competitions do not deliberately suppress the athletes’ scores, so many athletes have their highest scores in domestic competitions. Zhang Jue skated with passion, and at the end of the first day’s short program, he received the highest score of 83 points in the entire field.

On the second day, he landed two 3As in his free skate. Except for a mistake during the 3lz+3T+2lo triple jump, all other movements were completed.

His total score reached 266.15 points.

Perhaps for fans accustomed to scores over 300 in later years, a score of just over 260 may not seem like much. However, for the Chinese men’s singles in 2011, Zhang Jue’s performance was already formidable.

Surveying the entire field, he was the only one with a total score exceeding 240. In pairs, ice dance, and women’s singles, no one scored higher than him.

Jiang Chaosheng, looking at this score, was surprised: “It turns out that if Zhang Jue isn’t underscored, his performance can reach this level. Unfortunately, he almost had a clean free skate but made a mistake.”

Sun Qian shook her head: “Our judges were lenient with him. Originally, he couldn’t get such high scores for spins and footwork, especially footwork. His skating is good, but the choreography for the footwork part of the program was too simple.”

It seems that the choreographer intentionally lowered the difficulty of the footwork, perhaps considering that it was Zhang Jue’s first year competing.

However, achieving this score indicates that Zhang Jue’s abilities are indeed very strong.

A trace of satisfaction passed through the eyes of the old coach. It seems that men’s singles are really starting to rise. The last time he saw a 13-year-old men’s single standing on the podium in the senior category was at the end of the last century. While leisurely watching Switzerland’s national championships, the Spin King Smith won the championship with powerful expressive skills. At that time, Zhang Jue was probably still a child.

Later, this athlete from a not-so-dominant European country in figure skating not only won two World Championships but also won a silver medal at the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics.

Zhang Jue’s situation was similar to Smith’s. Sun Qian also believes that Zhang Jue will grow into a world-class athlete no inferior to Smith in the future.

During Zhang Jue’s competition, Chahan Buhua and Xu Chuo, who came to participate in the junior category competition, watched their senior brother’s figure with wide-open mouths.

That slender figure moved on the ice like the wind, ethereal like a fairy, and happy like a little prince running with white snow.

Everything was so beautiful, making people yearn.

If, one day, they can also go to that ice rink and perform so wonderfully…

The seeds of dreams took root and sprouted at this moment, destined to grow into towering trees on some future day.

However, when the awards ceremony began, although the scene was solemn, festive, lively, for some reason, there were always suspicious laughter sounds coming from the audience.

According to the award ceremony process, usually, the third-place winner enters first, skates around the rink, bows to the audience, then steps onto the red carpet and ascends their award platform. After that, it’s the second and the first.

Zhang Jue was the first, so he is the last to appear. When he finally went up, the second and third kindly helped him because the champion’s podium is half a meter high, and Zhang Jue himself is that tall, still wearing ice skates, he really couldn’t step up on his own.

After he finally got up there, the three of them standing together on the podium still looked quite familiar.

Coach Song Cheng looked at them, with a twitch of his mouth: “Those who know already know that our little Jue has entered junior high school. Those who don’t know might think that this year’s Chinese Figure Skating Championships champion is an elementary school student.”

Probably until Zhang Jue grows taller, whenever he wins the championship, the scene during the awards ceremony will always be this comical.


Support translation:

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