Figure Skating: I’m More Suited for the Olympics – Chapter 70 Short Film

In the 2011 Figure Skating Grand Prix Final, in the Ladies’ Singles event of the senior category, Shiratsuka Masako reversed her lackluster performance in the short program. She raised the world record for the senior ladies free skate by 29 points and successfully won the championship.

Her victory was not only achieved on home ground but also done beautifully. Moreover, she managed to come from behind in the short program, making the applause in the arena much more enthusiastic than when Zhang Jue won.

Shen Liu commented: “If nothing unexpected happens, the next few years will belong to this young girl.”

Shiratsuka Masako skills surpassed the current era, her artistic expression was top-notch, and with her complete growth, despite her petite stature, she possessed abundant strength. It was evident that she could dominate the field for at least one cycle.

Although she announced her retirement from competitive skating, she did not provide a reason. However, Shen Liu mentioned the possibility of unexpected events, considering the high injury rate in figure skating and the typical retirement age of athletes being around 23 to 25.

Zhang Jue speculated that Shiratsuka Masako “unexpected event” could be her illness, as her sister, Shiratsuka Keiko, less talented but without the burden of leukemia, continued competing until the age of 20 before retiring.

Watching the joyous scene of the young girl stepping onto the awards podium, Zhang Jue couldn’t help but smile. At least she seemed emotionally well, which put his mind at ease.

In the Men’s Free Skate, the champion wasn’t the favored Russian skater Vasily but the Italian skater Maquen. This result wasn’t surprising since Vasily had an ankle injury and made a mistake during the competition, while Maquen performed flawlessly.

Vasily secured the silver medal with a 3-point difference, and Sergei took third place. Zhang Junbao commented: “Anyway, as long as these three compete together, the podium will only have them, just like when our Little Jue, Hayato Teraoka, and Ilya competed together.”

Zhang Jue, leaning on his uncle’s solid arm, shrugged: “That’s the junior division’s business.”

With many strong contenders in the senior division, the young skaters entering the senior ranks needed time to adapt to the competition environment and challenge the positions of seasoned competitors. Many young talents who shone in the junior division struggled to adapt, eventually fading into the background.

Suddenly, Zhang Jue remembered: “By the way, Huang Ying and Guan Lin also won the junior division championship in this Grand Prix Final. Shouldn’t we celebrate together?”

Zhang Jue looked at his uncle with an expectant expression.

Zhang Junbao replied: “…I’ve already kneaded the dough. When we go back, I can make you knife-cut noodles. This time, I’ll make onion and shrimp stir-fry as a topping.”

Zhang Jue, satisfied, leaned against his uncle’s sturdy arm.

That evening, Shu Feng arrived at the athletes’ hotel with equipment and assistants.

Photographer Xiao Jin mumbled: “Doing interviews late at night.”

Shu Feng walked a bit faster: “No choice. Our athletes performed exceptionally well this time. The leaders said we should gather some materials. In case the kids achieve even better results after entering the senior division, we can use these materials to make a documentary.”

Xiao Jin said: “Isn’t it a bit too early to prepare these materials?”

Shu Feng responded: “It’s neither early nor late. Unlike us, Japan pays more attention to the development of junior athletes. Many TV stations deliberately focus on those young athletes, starting to document them even before they enter the senior division. As soon as these athletes perform well in the senior division, they immediately have footage to broadcast.”

Apart from that, Japan also had a trend of comparing and even shipping-certain talented young boys and girls. For example, Shiratsuka Masako and Hayato Teraoka had been dubbed the “Ice Prince and Princess.” They even collaborated on a program in the past, satisfying the expectations of fans who loved such “cp” dynamics.

Before Zhang Jue entered the scene, the Japanese media also compared Hayato Teraoka and Ilya as contemporary male figure skating prodigies, even making special programs with reasonably high viewership.

Listening to this, Xiao Jin couldn’t help but smirk: “Why does it sound like they love creating arch-rival stories.”

Shu Feng shook her head: “When Zhang Jue moves up to the senior division, there will probably be similar topics related to him. But it’s precisely because they are willing to pay attention to and hype these stories that Japan’s figure skating show market has been doing well. Many athletes from other countries are also willing to come here to do shows and make money.”

“Alright, let’s start shooting now.”

The next day, at 10 AM, Channel 5 aired a 40-minute short film, sparking enormous attention within the figure skating community.

The opening of the short film featured shaky camera footage, and then Coach Song, with a friendly smile, greeted the audience.

“Good evening, dear journalists. Come on, our Chinese team athletes are all on the 23rd floor. I’ll take you up.”

Subsequently, the camera followed Coach Song’s figure into the elevator, through a corridor covered with soft carpet, and opened a door, causing Shu Feng to exclaim.

“Wow, it smells so good. Is this onions?”

Coach Song chuckled: “Yes, these are knife-cut noodles made by Coach Zhang.”

Shu Feng, feeling embarrassed, asked: “Oh, did I disturb you during dinner?”

Zhang Junbao waved his hand: “No, not at all. This is a reward for the kids winning the competition. I don’t know why, but they all love the noodles I make.”

Zhang Junbao and Shen Liu shared a room. Now, their beds were pushed near the wall, with a table and a few folding stools near the French window. Zhang Jue, Huang Ying, and Guan Lin sat around a small round table, all immersed in their meal.

As they ate, Zhang Junbao replenished their cups with juice. Coach Ma, on the other hand, sat with Shen Liu, reviewing the performance of the kids during the day on the computer. The notebook recorded their technical moves, and at the back, he wrote down their mistakes.

These mistakes would be corrected through training when they returned home.

Shu Feng, with keen eyes, noticed that each child’s bowl had fried eggs and chicken legs with tooth marks.

The kids were eating well.

Some figure skating fans started laughing when they saw this.

Unfortunately, Zhang Junbao made a small portion, not considering the journalists. There was no thought of inviting them, so the reporters had to endure their hunger, sitting on plastic stools that appeared out of nowhere for the interview.

Zhang Jue, holding the noodle bowl, looked puzzled: “Should I stop?”

Shu Feng quickly waved her hand: “No need, no need. You can eat while talking. We don’t mind.”

[Ice Fans: That’s right, little treasure, you just eat. We don’t mind.]

Zhang Jue nodded: “Oh, okay, go ahead and ask.”

Huang Ying responded: “Yes, feel free to ask. We have nothing to hide.”

After saying that, she put the vegetables from her bowl into Guan Lin bowl.

Guan Lin continued eating in silence. Zhang Junbao couldn’t bear it and picked up some lettuce from the pot, putting it into Huang Ying bowl.

“Ying Ying, you have to eat vegetables, or you’ll get constipated!”

Huang Ying was suddenly choked, covering her chest and coughing. Guan Lin patted her back, and she gradually recovered, waving to the filming crew.

“Don’t broadcast this, cut it out, cut it out,” she exclaimed.

Shu Feng replied: “Okay, understood.”

[Hahaha, in the end, this part was still broadcast. Ying Ying is really cute.]

[Brother Lin is really caring for Sister Ying. Coach Zhang’s management style is interesting too. I thought he was a harsh coach when I saw him scolding the kids earlier. I didn’t expect him to be so considerate.]

[ Brother Lin and Sister Ying grew up together. Their relationship is naturally good.]

Watching the two kids interact, Shu Feng was almost tempted to ship them. He didn’t repeat the daytime questions about the inspiration for the program but instead asked them about their future.

“As peers, Coach Ma told me that the three of you will be promoted next year. Do you feel pressure?”

The three of them, holding their bowls, responded in unison: “No.”

Guan Lin shrugged: “We’ve been prepared for it.”

Being three years older than Zhang Jue, he was already 17 this year. That meant he had been eligible for promotion two years ago but had been waiting due to the age of his female partner.

Huang Ying, with a cheerful smile, added: “It’s inevitable to be promoted sooner or later. It’s better to promote early. After all, I’m a girl. In case I gain weight during puberty, I don’t know if I can continue doing the quadruple jumps.”

Their victory in the Grand Finals relied on the quadruple Salchow and the quadruple toe loop they developed this season. However, it was uncertain how long this technical advantage would last, especially considering that Huang Ying had suffered a not-so-light injury during the training of the quadruple Salchow.

Shu Feng continued to ask them various questions, with Guan Lin mainly answering while Huang Ying occasionally spoke, adding liveliness to the atmosphere. The two of them seemed to have a great understanding of each other.

A voiceover began.

“Throughout, China’s figure skating has faced the issue of a lack of successors. After Shen Liu, the men’s singles skater, retired due to injury, the senior men’s singles has been on hiatus for two years. Our gold medal pair skaters, Jin Meng and Yao Lan, have been hospitalized this season due to injuries. Therefore, these three kids in front of the camera, though young, are ready to bear the responsibility of this discipline.”

At this point, Zhang Jue finished the last sip of noodle soup, wiped his mouth, placed the bowl out of the camera’s view, and sat back. He held the apple that Zhang Junbao handed him but didn’t eat it.

Seeing that he had a moment, the camera focused on Zhang Jue. His face, now without makeup, no longer looked like an elf from Celtic fairy tales but was still exceptionally beautiful, radiating an ethereal charm.

[Ah, Little Crocodile looks so obedient sitting like that!]

[He just sits without speaking, really like a fairy descending to earth.]

[The top beauty of figure skating is him.]

Voiceover: This little kid is Zhang Jue, the ace skater of China’s men’s singles, only 14 years old, who has successively broken the youth records in the short program, free skate, and total score. He won gold in the Grand Finals and the World Junior Championships, becoming the first youth skater in China’s men’s singles to achieve a full sweep.

Shu Feng asked: “Were you nervous during this competition?”

Zhang Jue shook his head: “Not nervous because I knew I had a significant advantage. I was sure I would win.”

Shu Feng teased: “You seem very confident.”

Coach Zhang said: “This kid just doesn’t know how to be humble.”

Zhang Jue retorted: “I am humble. But what I said is true. I do have a significant advantage.”

Shu Feng asked him: “Now that you’ve won all the youth gold medals, what’s the next step for you?”

Zhang Jue thought for a moment, grinned, and said: “I want to become a world champion, in the senior division.”

Shu Feng asked: “Are you confident?”

Zhang Jue clenched his fist, raised his head, and declared: “I must be. I know many people want to see me win the championship, and I absolutely cannot disappoint their expectations.”

Shu Feng asked: “What about you? Do you want to be a world champion yourself?”

Zhang Jue blinked, thought for a moment, and his smile looked a bit shy: “For myself, of course, I want to become a world champion in the senior division too.”

He looked straight into the camera and said: “Every athlete wants to be a champion, and I’m no different.”

Shu Feng commented: “This road will be difficult. Having the courage to express your dream of becoming a world champion is already remarkable. We will all support you, Zhang Jue. Keep it up.”

Zhang Jue nodded with a smile: “Yeah!”

He wanted to take his uncle to higher-level competitions, let the girl who said: “Because Tama-chan hasn’t won a championship yet, I won’t be taken away by the death god,” see him perform more excellent programs, and continue to reunite and compete with friends on the rink.

He had truly fallen in love with this discipline.

Voiceover: “World champion is the highest honor that every athlete wants to achieve. At this moment, this young child tells us about his dream, and we sincerely hope that Zhang Jue can fulfill his wish.”

In the next instant, the camera shifted, and the three young athletes’ competition programs on the ice played out, accompanied by the phrase “representing China” over and over. The children, wearing ice skates, bravely entered their battlefield.

Throws, spins, lifts, quadruple jumps, rotations… one technical move after another appeared. The young kids were not yet perfect, but even if they fell, they would immediately get back up.

Seeing this scene, figure skating fans also harbored expectations for the future.

Even if there was a hiatus, these kids were still striving and achieving excellent results. They were the future stars of this discipline!

At the end of the program, with Zhang Jue striking the ending pose of “Dance of the Great River,” the camera suddenly froze, and a line of text slowly appeared.

“The Future on Ice..”


Support translation:

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