Figure Skating: I’m More Suited for the Olympics – Chapter 55 – Coach Lan Kun

Cha Hanbuhua waited at the elementary school gate for a long time after finishing the final exams. Only then did he see his older brother coming on a bicycle.

Bain waved at Cha Hanbuhua: “Little brat, come over quickly, or you’ll miss training.”

The little boy ran over, skillfully climbed onto the back seat, hugged his brother’s waist to maintain balance, and held lychee with sufficient water content to munch on.

Bain asked: “Did your senior brother go to Beijing again? Are all the coaches following him this time too?”

Thinking about the treatment Cha Hanbuhua’s senior brother received in the provincial team, it was beyond words. When going abroad for a competition, the head coach, main coach, assistant coach, and team doctor all followed him. The kiss & cry area was almost too crowded.

But thinking about it, it was understandable. After all, many talented athletes eventually joined the national team. Only Zhang Jue stayed in the provincial team for an extended period, making him as precious as gold.

Their reasons were legitimate. Figure skating couldn’t secure him a special admission to a prestigious school. So, in the end, he would have to take the national college entrance exam himself. Thus, he chose to continue studying at home.

This year’s high school entrance exam was earlier than the elementary school final exams. Zhang Jue had finished the exams half a month ago, and Cha Hanbuhua still remembered how tense the atmosphere was in the provincial team at that time.

Not only did Zhang Jue take the high school entrance exam, but other members of the same team, such as Liu Yeming, Ma Xiaobin, and Zheng Jialong in the junior men’s singles, also had to take the exam. However, Zhang Jue felt the most pressure.

Even though the coaches said they wanted Zhang Jue to understand that figure skating was true love and marry it, Zhang Jue would continue competing whether or not he married figure skating. However, if he didn’t pass the exam for Sanzhong (Third High School), Zhang Qingyan would drag him from the competition to a cram school.

Figure skating was the daughter-in-law yet to be married. Zhang Qingyan was the true mother-in-law with a club in hand, ready to meddle in her son-in-law’s business at any time.

Song Cheng even approved Zhang Jue’s two-week leave. Despite that, he was still worried. One month before the exam, he kept asking Zhang Jue if he wanted two more weeks off. Shen Liu even went through the high school English textbook several times, tutoring Zhang Jue every day.

When Zhang Jue’s results came out, Coach Song Cheng was more excited than Zhang Jue himself. It showed how much pressure Mrs. Zhang Qingyan brought to the coaches.

However, Zhang Jue learned about his acceptance into Sanzhong later than his family and coaches. On the second day of the exam, he boarded the train to Beijing and joined the national team training.

Cha Hanbuhua shook his head: “Coach Song and Coach Zhang stayed, only Coach Shen took Senior Brother to join the national team training. They will come back after the test competition.”

Bain was surprised: “Coach Zhang didn’t go? The big-chested coach didn’t accompany his precious nephew?”

Cha Hanbuhua looked embarrassed: “He said the provincial team is recruiting new members, and he’s preparing to find potential students. Also, my Y-turn jump is too bad, so he and Coach Shen said they would stay in the provincial team to watch over me.”

Zhang Junbao had accumulated rich experience in coaching blade jumps through teaching Zhang Jue. Even he was a blade jump expert during his military service, performing the smoothest 3Lo+3Lo. In contrast, Shen Liu, who taught point jumps, was more proficient in teaching Zhang Jue’s 3F under his guidance.

Two coaches had to follow Zhang Jue separately, and Zhang Jue didn’t mind which one. After all, both coaches liked to spank him, and in the end, the coach who suited Cha Hanbuhua better stayed.

Hearing this, Bain inexplicably felt relieved.

Although his silly little brother wasn’t as naturally talented as his senior brother, training a 3S at the age of 11 required a lot of effort. Still, he didn’t want the coaches to favor Zhang Jue too much. Now that the boy’s uncle could stay for Cha Hanbuhua, it indicated they valued this child.

Bain cleared his throat: “Little brat, skate well. Everyone at home supports you.”

Honestly, Cha Hanbuhua was an average student, relying on hard work. However, his athletic cells were exceptionally developed, and he had excellent musical sense. Originally, his family thought he might excel in ethnic dance. When he grew up, he could become a dance teacher or something. Unexpectedly, this kid ended up taking up ice skating…

The Mongolian ethnic group had not produced any famous figure skaters yet, and Bain thought his little brother might become the first one.

Although figure skating was considered a niche sport in the country, if one succeeded, there was money to be made. For example, his little brother’s senior brother was proof of that.

A warm breeze brought a burning sensation as the bicycle passed over the asphalt road. There were two large billboards at the bus stop, and one of them happened to roll to the milk advertisement.

A teenager in a crocodile jumpsuit, even wearing a hood, held a cup with the product logo. A milk mustache adorned his mouth, and he looked up to the upper right corner, smiling with a playful expression, revealing a pair of tiger teeth. He looked like a satisfied little crocodile.

Ladder Mountain Milk, rich and fragrant pure yogurt, endorsed by the world champion who claimed it was excellent.

Yes, the world champion in the junior category was also a world champion.

He had just finished the high school entrance exam and was already pulled into shooting his first commercial. After that, he was packaged and brought to Beijing for national team training. Zhang Jue was currently lying on the barrier, drinking a sports drink.

“Ah, I’m starving.”

Shen Liu lightly pinched the child’s tender cheek: “You just had breakfast less than two hours ago, and you’re already hungry.”

Zhang Jue looked mournful: “After leaving Aunt Ning’s loving meals, I always feel like something is missing.”

Aunt Ning was the cafeteria lady who achieved excellent results in raising pigs, to the point where other provincial teams invited her to give lectures. She was exceptionally kind to Zhang Jue, occasionally making treats like honey pineapple slices or sweet and sour pork chops for the boy.

Not to say that the cafeteria lady in capital was bad, but she wouldn’t give Zhang Jue any treats.

Shen Liu said: “…”

Even if Aunt Ning fed you like a pig, you shouldn’t really eat like a pig.

August was the domestic test competition, and in September, the new junior season was set to begin. Before that, athletes would seize the opportunity to train intensively, ensuring their bodies were in peak condition for the start of the season. Zhang Jue, due to the high school entrance exam, had slacked off in training, and he needed to quickly make up for the training volume.

Accompanying Zhang Jue to Beijing was Xu Chuo, a girl who, during her time with Zhang Junbao and Shen Liu, successfully mastered the fifth type of triple jump, 3Lz. Not only did she shine in advanced combination jumps like 3F+3T and 3Lz+3T, but she also practiced a special move with Senior Brother Zhang Jue. The national team had shown interest in her a few times, and she herself had the intention to join. This time, she was going to complete the enrollment procedures.

This was also why Zhang Junbao chose to stay in the provincial team. With Xu Chuo leaving, Zhang Junbao had only Zhang Jue and Cha Hanbuhua as his two disciples, which was considered too few. Coach Song Cheng had always hoped that Zhang Junbao and Shen Liu would take on more apprentices.

After all, if Zhang Jue was considered a talent, Xu Chuo’s success proved Zhang Junbao and Shen Liu’s coaching abilities. The leaders wanted to assign them more promising talents, hoping to elevate H Province’s provincial team in men’s singles figure skating.

Moreover, after encountering Cha Hanbuhua, who almost slipped away from their hands, they planned to explore commercial ice rinks more and see if they could discover more promising talents.

July and August were the hottest months of the year, but being on the ice became a form of enjoyment. There was a thud nearby, and Xu Chuo fell again.

Well, falling while practicing jumps was inevitable. This girl was very cautious, always wearing protective gear during practice. Compared to Zhang Jue, who didn’t even bother with hip protectors during new jump practice and found them bothersome, she was much safer.

Shen Liu remained calm and casually informed Zhang Jue: “Xu Chuo has turned 13, and this year, she will compete in the junior category along with you. The higher-ups plan to have both of you choose the same competition site, and Coach Zhao from the national team will take her with us.”

Zhang Jue scratched his head: “Sure, that’s great. With her ability, reaching the award podium shouldn’t be a problem.”

Shiratsuka Yuko had already moved up a level this year, while Keiko Shiratsuka hadn’t yet. The current junior category didn’t have any dominant figures, and in Zhang Jue’s eyes, the fighting strength of the other female skaters in the junior category was just average. When Xu Chuo faced them, winning or drawing wasn’t a problem.

In the current era where raising hands wasn’t popular yet, Xu Chuo’s technical advantage was quite evident. Later, if we consider nationality, Xu Chuo might be at a disadvantage… But Xu Chuo was still practicing the 3F+3Lo. If she could master this high-difficulty combination jump and perform well, with a better routine and a more energetic performance, aiming for the gold medal directly wouldn’t be an issue.

However, the problem lay here. Xu Chuo’s 3Lo was her least proficient jump. After the crossed take-off, her axis was always unstable. After all, not everyone had Zhang Jue’s innate physical balance and coordination.

After a while, Coach Zhao, responsible for the national team’s women’s singles, started calling people.

“Zhang Jue, come help. Demonstrate the 3Lo for Xu Chuo. Why does her take-off posture look so awkward? Little Xu, watch Zhang Jue’s take-off. His posture is almost textbook.”

Zhang Jue responded with a sound, not even using the assistance slide. He directly took off in place with a swish, and a perfect 3Lo landed lightly on the ice.

They trained in the morning, and in the afternoon, they had to attend ideological classes at the Sports Bureau, listening to leaders’ motivational speeches.

To be honest, the classroom environment was quite good, with air conditioning, bottled water, brand-new leather notebooks, and pens on the tables, giving the appearance of requiring note-taking.

Zhang Jue pouted, placing the pen on his upper lip, and with both eyes looking towards the middle, he turned to Huang Ying, who was also attending the class. Huang Ying burst into laughter.

After a while, Sun Qian led in a middle-aged man with deep forehead wrinkles. Zhang Jue looked up and found that this man was quite tall, estimated to be over 1.9 meters.

Sun Qian cleared his throat: “Everyone, this is Coach Lan Kun, a former national team scoring guard and now the head coach of the Jiangtan team. You know about the Jiangtan team, the champions of this year’s league. Now, he will talk about the secrets of joint and muscle care and training. Let’s give him a round of applause.”

A group of young figure skaters graciously applauded, and Lan Kun raised his hand, looking serious. He fiddled with a USB drive on the computer, and a human muscle distribution chart was projected onto the white screen behind him.

Lan Kun’s movements were fast. In less than 10 seconds, he formally began speaking into the microphone.

“Hello, everyone. I am Lan Kun, the head coach of the Jiangtan team. Although I’m a ball player, everyone uses their legs in sports. Today, I will share some insights with you.”

A deep baritone voice echoed, and Zhang Jue raised his eyebrows unexpectedly, this uncle’s voice conditions were quite good.

Huang Ying whispered to Zhang Jue’s ear: “Little Jue, this coach is quite handsome.”

Zhang Jue made a sound of agreement.

Although this uncle had a serious face, in the eyes of those who were once part of the entertainment industry, he had a typical sculpted face, quite handsome and high-class, perhaps even resembling a male model in his younger days.

Xu Chuo took notes and casually joined the conversation: “He’s quite handsome, especially the nose. It looks great, just like Senior Brother’s.”

Upon hearing this, Guan Lin subconsciously turned his head to look at Lan Kun. He immediately noticed that Coach Lan had a narrow and straight bridge, with a slightly raised, small, and pointed tip. It was almost…

Like a mold.

The class lasted for forty minutes. Afterward, there was another ideology class, emphasizing athlete discipline and self-discipline. It particularly emphasized not causing trouble during away competitions, avoiding disputes with anyone, even if pushed and fell by an opponent on the field, as long as no injuries occurred, climb up and finishing the competition.

The leader even used Lan Kun as an example, saying: “For example, Coach Lan here had a fiery temper when he was young. He met his wife in a bar fight. After being ambushed in an away game, he immediately challenged someone to a fight afterward. In the end, he was reported, and he was banned for a whole year.”

“Did you hear that, speed skating team? Write this down, highlight it!”

This training wasn’t only for figure skating athletes but also for athletes from the adjacent speed skating and ice hockey teams. Speed skating competitions were prone to dirty tricks, and athletes often got frustrated, so the leaders were deliberately giving them a preventive lecture.

At the end, the leader said they would treat the kids to dinner.

Of course, they were going to the cafeteria; nobody dared take this group of athletes to eat outside.

Zhang Jue, carrying his notebook, swayed at the back of the line. Lan Kun, somehow, had also fallen to the end of the line. Watching him slowly descend the stairs while holding the handrail, Zhang Jue hesitated for a few seconds before speaking up.

“Are you injured?”


Zhang Jue looked up, feeling that this person’s gaze was quite sharp. He quickly waved his hand: “It’s nothing, just got a blister on my foot.”

For athletes, getting blisters on their feet due to excessive training was too common. It didn’t even delay training. Zhang Jue’s slow pace was purely because the ideology class earlier was too mesmeric, he wasn’t very energetic right now.

At this moment, Shen Liu called out to Zhang Jue: “Little Jue, come over for a moment. Headmaster Wen is looking for you.”

Headmaster Wen was the leader in charge of business contacts at the Ice and Snow Sports Center. When Zhang Jue signed the advertising deal, this was the person he negotiate with. Being summoned by him basically meant money was coming. So, Zhang Jue’s spirit immediately perked up as he walked to his place.



Support translation:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is kofi3-3.png

Leave a Reply