Figure Skating: I’m More Suited for the Olympics – Chapter 63 Emotions

The young man on the ice was clearly just a junior-level skater, but when he graciously bowed to the audience, Gianluca Maquen almost felt like he witnessed the crowning of a new king.

No, if it was this kid, one day he would indeed become the new king of the discipline.

The Italian skater revealed a touch of awe in his eyes: “Incredible! Before him, I’ve never seen anyone do a quad while waving to the audience. He’s like a monster.”

Sergei shook his head: “Not just that, he also used a delayed rotation in the quad. Using a delayed rotation in the quad jump means something, and you and I both understand.”

This meant that Zhang Jue had mastered the 4S jump completely. Judging from Zhang Jue’s performance record this season, after the first segment of the competition, his success rate with the 4S was almost hundred percent, whether in competition or exhibition skating. He had not made any mistakes with this jump.

Until the Grand Finals, Zhang Jue directly presented the hands-raised 4S, declaring that he had completely conquered this jump.

“Not only that, his skating has improved significantly.”

Hayato Teraoka held a device displaying “23.5 KM/h”. This speed was already at the level of senior men’s singles, even enough for ice dance competitions. Although Zhang Jue’s blade work might not match the ice dance specialists, this speed was still impressive.

He said: “Tama-chan’s skating style is shallow on the edges but incredibly fast. His jump distance also comes from this. It seems like he wants to fully embrace the lightness route, which suits him well.”

Shiratsuka Keiko sat beside her sister, asking in confusion: “So, does his jumps look good because of that?”

“That’s right,” Shiratsuka Masako nodded and explained: “For human eyes, distance has more impact than height. So, jump techniques that emphasize distance often receive higher Grades of Execution (GOE) than height-focused techniques. It’s determined by physiological factors, but it requires good skating skills.”

When Zhang Jue bowed, a small crocodile plush toy was tossed onto the ice, as if a plush rain had started in the arena. The largest plush toy was even bigger than Zhang Jue.

Considering the children who would come to clean the ice later were elementary school students, dealing with such a large plush toy would likely require two people. To avoid inconveniencing the kids, Zhang Jue personally skated over, dragging the large plush toy and cheerfully exited the ice.

Zhang Junbao lifted the plush toy onto his shoulder, threw his jacket to Zhang Jue, and said: “Hurry up and put on your clothes.”

Zhang Jue chuckled as he put on his clothes and sheathed his blades. Shen Liu patted his little head, saying: “Good job. Your success rate with 3lz+3lo in this season’s competitions is only thirty percent. This time, the rhythm was particularly good. Keep it up in the future.”

Zhang Jue murmured: “Actually, when I did the 3lo, I applied a bit too much force. I almost slipped. This success is somewhat lucky.”

When it came to the kiss & cry, Zhang Jue casually placed the plush toy on the seat, then sat down in its lap. The arena was filled with “kawaii” sounds for a while.

On the ice, Zhang Jue was an elegant and passionate Autumn Prince, exuding a transcendent aura. Off the ice, he became a cute little creature, immediately evoking feelings of warmth and affection.

Everyone in the audience knew that Zhang Jue’s score for this performance would be exceptionally high. In the short program of the junior category, attempting a quadruple jump was almost exclusive to top-level men’s singles skaters. Many top skaters, even in the senior category, would opt for a less difficult single jump for stability, and rarely attempted jumps as difficult as 3A.

Moreover, Zhang Jue finished his final combination with the most challenging 3lz+3lo in the 33-jump sequence, maintaining high jump quality.

For a junior skater, he managed to achieve a technical score of over 50, and if the judges did a bit of favoring when awarding performance scores, the total score for this program would easily surpass 85, setting a new world record.

Sitting on the crocodile plush toy’s thigh, Zhang Jue, hands on his thighs, looked up at the screen, adopting a posture reminiscent of an elder storytelling in the village. The ethereal charm he exhibited during the performance had disappeared, but Coach Song reminded him to “mind his image,” and the child immediately closed his legs.

The score appeared on the big screen, and many people exclaimed. They weren’t surprised because the judges were being generous today, but because the judges were actually being human today?!

Technical Score: 52.61

Performance Score: 38.19

Final Score: 90.8

Behind this score were the shining World Record (WR) and the Competition Record (MR).

Zhang Jue, with “Autumn,” achieved an unprecedented performance score, breaking the world record!

In the classroom of High School class 3, excited commentary echoed through the speakers.

“Zhang Jue has broken his own junior-level short program world record! 90.8 points, this score is unbelievably high. Even in the senior category, it would contend for the top score in the short program!”

Upon hearing this, many people unfamiliar with figure skating exclaimed, shouting: “Brother Jue is amazing!”

Breaking a world record is already impressive, but if the record was previously held by the same person, the word “amazing” might not be enough to describe it. It’s simply beyond amazing.

As Zhang Jue stood up and embraced the coaches on the screen, waving to the audience, he became the center of attention in the entire venue.

And indeed, he had the qualification to be so confident. After all, the second-ranked Kharhasha Golovkin scored only 79 points, a difference of 11 points. Even if Kharhasha Golovkin suddenly pulled off a quadruple jump, it would be challenging to make up this point difference in the free skate, especially considering he hadn’t done so before.

“He is the first man in the world to score above 90 in the short program at the junior level. We can foresee that Zhang Jue will undoubtedly be a top-level skater not inferior to Ilya Safoshenko or Hayato Teraoka when he enters the senior category!”

For a moment, Zhang Jue became the focus of the entire venue, and after going through the routine celebrations, he surprisingly showed no signs of overwhelming excitement.

His emotions were remarkably stable.

The commentator on Japanese sports channel chuckled and said: “Well, although he has already secured the victory, the competition isn’t over yet. It seems Tama-chan has no intention of relaxing, truly the king of the junior category.”

Leaving the noisy arena, the world immediately became much quieter.

Zhang Jue flipped through his high school textbooks in the room, but he couldn’t concentrate. It wasn’t until his phone rang that he immediately picked up.

“Hello, I’m Zhang Jue…”

Hearing the voice on the other end, Zhang Jue paused and sighed: “I see. Are you okay?”

Qin Xuejun stood in the corridor, looking at the night view outside: “She passed away quickly, took a lot of sedatives and painkillers, hardly stayed conscious. She didn’t even have the chance to see her parents for the last time. I just feel guilty for my own incompetence. Sorry for telling you all this… little Ping really liked your ‘Autumn,’ thank you.”

Zhang Jue walked to the window, gazing at the Fukuoka Tower in the night. In reality, facing the death of those close to him was not unfamiliar to him. In his previous life, he had bid farewell to almost all his family members, yet he still struggled to comfort grieving individuals.

He sat cross-legged by the window and slowly sang: “If there’s a heaven with fresh flowers in full bloom, it would resemble the bright red little roses…”

Qin Xuejun paused, quietly leaning against the wall, listening to the entire performance of “My Little Darling.” A smile appeared on his face, and he uttered: “спасибо” again.

“Ah? What are you saying?” Hearing the confused voice of the child, Qin Xuejun quickly explained: “It’s ‘thank you’ in Russian. Sorry, when I was a child, my parents were busy, and my grandmother raised me.”

“Oh, I see.” Zhang Jue’s voice remained calm. Qin Xuejun hesitated for a moment and asked: “Zhang Jue, telling you all this, won’t it disturb your pre-competition mood?”

Zhang Jue shook his head, thinking about the unseen opposite.

“No, I asked you to tell me these things voluntarily. If you hid them from me for the sake of the competition, then I would be upset.”

They chatted for a while before saying goodnight to each other. Zhang Jue stared at his phone in a daze.

He whispered softly: “It won’t really affect my performance.”

After all, he had grown accustomed to dealing with the sadness left behind when someone passed away. Even in his previous life, when he learned about his grandmother’s death just before the college entrance exam, it didn’t hinder his performance. In fact, he performed exceptionally well, scoring 20 points higher than in the mock exams.

Maybe, after the few years of numbness following the loss of his parents and younger brother, his ability to face sadness had strengthened.

Still unable to sleep, and with the free skate scheduled for the day after tomorrow, Zhang Jue quietly left the hotel, carrying his skates. Relying on his sense of direction and English road signs, he found his way to the competition venue.

The main arena was already closed, and Zhang Jue couldn’t find a way in. However, the secondary arena had an open window.

For a mischievous person like him, one open window was enough. Zhang Jue tossed his skates inside, propped himself on the window sill, lifted his foot, and climbed in.

As he approached the ice rink, he heard the sound of blades gliding over the ice.

Zhang Jue paused and subconsciously took lighter steps.

The arena was not lit, only a few beams of light from street lamps coming through the windows.

A delicate figure glided over the ice, and Zhang Jue watched for a while, realizing that it was his program: “Autumn.”

There was no music playing in the arena, but the melody naturally flowed between them.

With a swish, the figure jumped in a Salchow-like manner, spun in the air for a few turns, and landed on the ice, stumbling a bit.

Zhang Jue determined that it was supposed to be a 4S, but it was 180 degrees away from a perfect rotation. However, she managed to avoid falling due to her skillful technique of landing with soft knees, similar to his.

For a female skater, attempting a quadruple jump like the four-revolution jump was already impressive.

At that moment, she stopped, clutching her stomach, and squatted on the ice. Zhang Jue hurriedly ran up: “Hey, are you okay?”

Shiratsuka Masako looked up, exclaiming: “How did you get in?”

Zhang Jue: “I climbed in through the window. What about you?”

Shiratsuka Masako: “I climbed in too.”

They glanced at each other and burst into laughter simultaneously. Zhang Jue supported her arm: “Where does it hurt? Can you stand up?”

With his help, the young girl stood up: “I can, thanks.”

Since both were sneaking into the ice rink like little rascals, there was no need to explain certain things. Zhang Jue supported her to a seat, and after a short rest, Shiratsuka Masako regained her energy. She enthusiastically invited Zhang Jue to drink some delicious local juice nearby.

Well, of course, it was the kind of juice that athletes could safely drink.

She seemed unwilling to discuss her physical discomfort, and Zhang Jue, being considerate, didn’t inquire. Adults should have a sense of propriety and not ask about things others don’t want to talk about.

But while drinking juice, she suddenly hissed, covering her mouth, and waved to Zhang Jue.

“I’m fine, just gum inflammation, a bit of bleeding. It won’t affect the competition.”

Zhang Jue looked helpless: “Have you reported your condition to your coach? You should let him know about any physical issues.”

Shiratsuka Masako widened her eyes: “Of course, I did!”

Zhang Jue immediately deduced that she hadn’t.

Alright, for an athlete, oral issues might not have a significant impact. As for clutching her stomach, it was probably menstrual pain. Zhang Jue had seen her struggle with it during commercial performances in the past but refrained from discussing it with her, as it might be offensive. So, this time, he only handed her a mask.

Considering her high popularity in Japan, if she were caught sneaking out at night, it would likely have a negative impact. She seemed to be aware of this, as she even brought sunglasses. However, wearing sunglasses at night was even more suspicious, wasn’t it?

Shiratsuka Masako realized this and looked somewhat embarrassed.

If it were a usual situation, facing this kind of scenario, Zhang Jue might have made an excuse to buy something, asking her to go back first. He would return later, avoiding suspicion. However, it was nighttime now, and with his concern for the safety of a female, he decided to take the same bus back. They each occupied a different area—one in the rear compartment and the other in the front.

After a while, Masako leaned against the armrest, rubbing against Zhang Jue, her eyes shining.


Zhang Jue gave her a sidelong glance: “What’s up?”

“It’s just… Can you tell me how to make the program performance so brilliant? I just can’t express emotions as perfectly as you do. Please teach me! How do you express it like…”

Zhang Jue: “Well… just express whatever you want.”

As a genius relying on feelings for performance, even in Chinese, he couldn’t explain some of the subtle techniques involved. He stuttered: “Emotional release is very personal. Perform however you want.”

Masako sat back, clenched her left fist and tapped the center of her right palm: “Is it a performance completely from the heart? Sounds amazing. No wonder it’s you.”

She blinked: “I’m not good at short programs. Every time, I rely on adding difficulty in the free skate to catch up in scores. If I could perform like this, I’d surely take first in tomorrow’s short program, and the audience would remember my performance, right?”

This desire to be remembered sounded similar to Zhang Jue’s attitude in his previous life, knowing he was about to exit the stage but still wanting to leave behind a great song for his fans.

Zhang Jue encouraged her: “If it’s you, there won’t be any problem.”

Masako nodded happily: “Yeah!”

However, the person saying this made a serious mistake during the short program, attempting a 3A jump, ending up in the last place with a score of 75.18 in the senior women’s singles of this final.

Zhang Jue sighed sitting in the audience: “Indeed, not good at short programs.”

The disastrous fall was reminiscent of his own mishap when he skated into a groove during the free skate.

Speaking of which, her mistake this time had nothing to do with menstrual pain or bleeding gums, right?

Zhang Jue was a bit worried, but since she could still smile and make heart gestures in the kiss & cry area, it should be okay.


Support translation:

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