Figure Skating: I’m More Suited for the Olympics – Chapter 62 The Red Leaves

When Zhang Jue’s competition started, Sanzhong was still having evening self-study. Chen Sijia counted the time, secretly took out her laptop from the drawer, when Mrs. Ying Dongmei, who came for evening self-study, unexpectedly asked her classmates.

“Today is the day of Zhang Jue’s final competition. His program is about to start. Are you all going to watch?”

The classroom immediately echoed with shouts like “Yes!” “Teacher is wise!”

Gu Lingli lazily commented: “It seems that there are quite a few fans of Zhang Jue.”

It makes sense to think about it. There is a world champion around, and he looks so handsome. Naturally, many people who know him are attracted to pay attention to this event. Coupled with the camaraderie among classmates, it’s quite normal to watch Zhang Jue’s live broadcast.

Ms. Ying Dongmei set up the projection screen, and the live broadcast from Channel 5 appeared on the white screen.

At the beginning, the screen only showed Juventus, who was dancing to jazz with saccades. Soon, Zhang Jue appeared in the lens.

His short program this year “Autumn” was exceptionally exquisite. It wrapped around his body like layers of autumn leaves. Red rhinestones, sequins, and beads were hidden in the gaps of the maple leaves. As he moved, his entire person emitted a dreamy shimmer. A red hairband lifted his black hair high, and a gradient-colored chiffon wrapped around his arms without wind.

Bai Yushan from the Sports Committee exclaimed: “Wow, he’s like a fairy.”

Zhang Jue happened to look at the camera at this time, revealing a smile.

Another boy immediately covered his chest, saying: “He’s gonna kill me with this look…”

Chen Sijia also felt that Zhang Jue’s appearance was incredible, laughing heartily. This was undoubtedly the most beautiful costume Zhang Jue had worn in figure skating competitions since he started. Elegant and refined.

Gu Lingli wondered: “Why did Zhang Jue suddenly say hello to the camera?”

Another girl, holding a small crocodile fan, replied dumbly: “He’s probably greeting the audience.”

Italian men’s singles champion Gianluca Maquen sat in the front row, teasing Sergei, the second brother of Russian men’s singles.

“It’s rare to see you coming to watch the junior group competition.”

Sergei replied seriously: “China’s men’s singles are on the rise. This kid will definitely advance to the senior level next year. It’s normal to check out the future opponents in advance.”

Maquen was even more surprised when he heard this. This proud Slavic men’s singles player never regarded athletes ranked outside the top ten in the world as worthy of attention. Zhang Jue had not even advanced to the senior level yet, but he gained such recognition from Sergei. It seemed that Sergei valued Zhang Jue a lot.

Turning his head, Maquen didn’t see any outstanding halo from this small figure, but he felt that this kid was really beautiful.

If Zhang Jue changed his nationality, his appearance alone could raise his performance to a top-level standard.

Maquen judged that the boy’s physique had improved a lot from last year. His on-ice posture resembled that of the chief ballet dancers, with his shoulders and neck straight, like a little swan. He should have undergone very strict ballet training to achieve such a change.

Madam Mia in front of the TV sipped her tea elegantly and then put it down gracefully, concealing her achievements and fame.

Although the season was only halfway through, many figure skating fans believed that “Autumn” was the most beautiful program of the season. When Zhang Jue danced on the ice, the whole world seemed to quiet down, all the noise disappeared, leaving only the young man dancing alone on the pure ice.

In the history of figure skating, many top skaters have performed “Autumn.” Russian skater Ekaterina Gordeeva won the 1999 World Championships with this program. The previous North American men’s singles leader also used this program as one of his early representative works.

It is a classical and romantic piece with passionate and gentle classical accents, expressing joy and intoxication. Over the years, it has captivated countless music lovers.

Zhang Jue chose to skate “Autumn,” inspired by a line from Rabindranath Tagore’s translation of “Gitanjali” — “Life is as splendid as summer flowers, and death is as quiet and beautiful as autumn leaves.”

The first half of the line depicts the value and brilliance of life, while the second half speaks of the calm and beauty of death. It is a poem for a child who is about to die, full of regret and compassion, yet not sorrowful.

Zhang Jue wouldn’t say something like “Although you are gone, we will remember you,” but through performing this program on the top stage of figure skating, he aimed to amaze the world and leave a deeper mark for little Ping in this world.

When that effortless 4S appeared, many insiders were shocked by the quality of the jump.

Shen Liu applauded contentedly: “This is the most beautiful 4S Zhang Jue has ever jumped. I’ve never seen him jump so well during training.”

More precisely, this should be the best 4S since the start of this season. The difficulty of entering and exiting the jump is high, the takeoff is clean, the rotation is abundant, the posture is beautiful and smooth, and there’s even a raised hand!

Since Zhang Jue made raising hands a regular technique in competitions, more and more athletes have started practicing this move, but Zhang Jue is undoubtedly the first to incorporate it into the four-turn jump!

What’s even more frightening is that even with such a difficult move, Zhang Jue seamlessly integrated it into the music. The technical and artistic aspects were perfectly blended together.

Zhang Junbao’s eyes showed a trace of warmth: “Compared to the preliminary rounds, the completeness of the program has improved a lot. He won’t disappoint with this program.”

Although he didn’t follow the approach of the previous season, where he compressed all jumps to the latter part of the program and multiplied the base score by 1.1 for bonus points, Zhang Jue’s jumps in this season all received good Grades of Execution (GOE). As long as the jumps were successful, he easily got GOE scores of 1.5 or higher.

In the second jump, Zhang Jue once again surprised everyone.

This time he used the single-handed raised Tano pose.

This 3A seemed like a red maple leaf blown by the autumn wind, falling on the branches and fluttering, accompanied by music, landing in people’s hearts. The young man entered a butterfly with an amazing sense of suspension, followed by a sweet loop and a hilted Yagudin spin.

After this spin, with the accompaniment of the piano, Zhang Jue knelt down on one knee, making an inviting dance pose. Then he stood up again to continue gliding.

The ice skate glided over the ice, splashing snow-colored ice flowers. The young man’s footsteps were light and fast, resembling a waltz on ice.

Oddly, Zhang Jue’s hand was placed very low, giving the subconscious impression that his partner should be smaller than him. The scene looked like an elf frolicking and dancing with a child in a maple leaf forest, pure and romantic.

Shiratsuka Masako silently gazed at Zhang Jue’s figure, unintentionally murmuring: “Beautiful…”

How should I put it? In the past, when Zhang Jue performed, one could still feel the skill in the details, but this time: “Autumn” was simply natural, exuding a life force that came from the heart.

Shiratsuka Masako was completely captivated by Zhang Jue. She thought, this is the best performance she has seen this season. If she could also skate a program so full of vitality, her life would be worthwhile.

The choreography of this connecting segment was simply excellent. Zhang Jue didn’t get stuck in the framework of his predecessors but interpreted his own “Autumn.”

Even though the program had just entered the second half, everyone understood that they were witnessing the birth of a classic. In the future, when figure skating fans mention “Autumn,” they will say: “I know, that’s the masterpiece of Chinese men’s singles skater Zhang Jue.”

The commentator praised: “Jue has made significant progress in his performance. A year ago, he treated the rink as a stage, but now he is almost one with the ice, showcasing the artistic beauty of figure skating. I’m already immersed in his performance.”

His co-commentator agreed: “And his jumps, the disconnect between his jumps and the performance has completely disappeared. Did you see that quad Salchow with hands raised? God, I can’t imagine what kind of waves this kid will create when he enters the senior category!”

“This is already world-class jumping ability!”

When Zhang Jue completed the final 3lz+3lo combination jump and transitioned into a bow, the audience had already started standing and applauding.

Amidst the continuous applause, Zhang Jue lifted one foot with one hand, performing his iconic Biellmann spin. Another spin, followed by him dropping to one knee on the ice, one hand grabbing the ice, then placing his hand by his lips, gently blowing as if sweeping away the desolation and darkness of the entire autumn season, leaving only the pure joy of life.

Xiao Ping blinked, tears rolling down her cheeks.

She remembered the time before her illness, when her parents used to take her to see the autumn leaves at Xiangshan. Back then, she could still run in the maple leaf forest, with leaves falling into her palms, as if holding the entire autumn.

Now, her life was approaching its end. Xiao Ping understood that she couldn’t leave this hospital room again. However, before death arrived, Zhang Jue had brought autumn to her through this performance.

Zhang Jue, on one knee on the ice, invited me to dance, like a knight inviting a princess. He’s really romantic.

Qin Xuejun placed the computer aside, held Xiao Ping’s hand, and softly said: “Xiao Ping, this program is so beautiful because of you. You’re the hero.”

Xiao Ping squinted slightly as if smiling.

Qin Xuejun gently told her: “Following your parents’ request, someone will come to remove the tube later. The doctor will give you pain relief medication through injection. In the days to come, you won’t have to suffer so much. For now, get some rest.”


Support translation:

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

This Post Has One Comment

  1. DoubtfulCat

    Best chapter as of yet. Also, kudos to the translator ♥️♥️♥️

Leave a Reply