Figure Skating: I’m More Suited for the Olympics – Chapter 81 Challenge

The initial background music was a creaking sound as if someone was turning the key of a music box, and then something started to rotate.

Soft wind chimes rang out. The young boy, with both hands raised, moved his arms down to his side, turned sideways, and looked back, like a sturdy snow cedar standing in the early spring of the north, hearing the call of spring.

He spun around, gliding on the ice with a series of continuous spins.

Maquen, who had just finished watching the scores, was surprised.

“Hmm? Although it’s still a lyrical program, did it switch to a crisp and agile performance style?”

Interesting, looking at the back of the boy, Costin, draped in a semi-transparent white veil, and a silver belt with an especially slim waist hanging on his hips. Maquen thought Zhang Jue had decided to go for a seductive style.

Unexpectedly, it was a fresh style, but it suited him so well that it was hard to look away. Maquen originally thought that “Adios Nonino” was already impressive with its mournful elegance, but he didn’t expect the surprise to lie in this.

Then Zhang Jue presented something more interesting to the audience. He leaned back, performed a crouch, followed by a sweep of both arms backward, and then a forceful swing forward. Legs powered, lifting the small body quickly into the air.


A stable 3A jump with a clear oval arc appeared on the ice as the blade glided over the surface.

The Italian ace, who had done two consecutive A jumps on the ice just two minutes ago, remained silent for three seconds and continued to watch this young opponent seriously.

His coach was nagging beside him: “Maquen, the crocodile’s A jump technique ranks first among the new generation.”

Maquen: “Yes, yes, I know.”

The transition before the jump is also part of the difficulty of the jump. When most people have to slide for a while before taking off, doing a difficult step movement suddenly accelerates the takeoff. This is the embodiment of strength.

There was a skilled skater in ladies’ singles who performed a 2A with a bow step, namely Shiratsuka Masako, shaking up the ladies’ singles event at that time. Many praised Shiratsuka Masako as the number one in ladies’ singles A jump technique. Unexpectedly, Zhang Jue had even practiced the more challenging crouch bow step into a 3A.

However, the skillful style of entering this way was too similar to Shiratsuka Masako.

He squinted his eyes but didn’t know that in the distant Fukuoka, Masako warmly dressed sat quietly watching this program with her sister.

Keiko Shiratsuka sighed: “The little crocodile actually practiced this move just by watching my sister’s competition videos. Amazing.”

With her praise, Zhang Jue once again performed his signature move, the raised hand 4S.

Another clean and stable landing, fulfilling the three major elements: rotation, delayed spin, and raised hand. The moment of landing coincided with the musical accent, pulling more and more figure skating fans immersed in “Tulanduo” into Zhang Jue’s world.

In this performance, whether it was gliding, jumping, or arm movements, everything looked too smooth. It was clearly lyrical, conveying the performer’s emotions, but everything was just right, leaving a lingering aftertaste.

Especially the gliding, Zhang Jue’s speed at this moment was so high that it was almost liftoff. His glide was as smooth as a blade and as silky as a dove chocolate. Instead of slowing down before entering the quadruple jump, he further accelerated, leaving Zhang Junbao, who was watching, in disbelief.

Shen Liu adjusted his glasses and said: “When his body is in its prime state, his upper limit is unexpectedly high.”

As Zhang Jue completed a set of 3lz+1lo+3S in the same agile manner, many people had already sensed something.

This kid seems to be starting the game with a bang today…

Zhang Jue’s old fan, Marisa, clenched the banner in her hand. In the row behind her, Arthur Cohen held his breath and swallowed saliva.

No, this is indeed Jue. Although the American media praised him as a genius no less than Jue, only this Eastern boy could complete jumps with such clean perfection, the epitome of a high-speed turning technique.

It’s terrifying. Clearly, only in the first year of promotion, he has already shown the strength to challenge Maquen, the world number one!

As Zhang Jue entered the jumping swallow-style rotation, the music reached 1 minute and 20 seconds, the wind chimes became louder, and suddenly inserted into the piano and violin ensemble.

On the vast white battlefield, the boy stood on one foot on the ice, the other foot’s blade pulled back to the shoulder, the body twisted into the shape of a sweet ring. While spinning, he raised the empty hand, and a light green chiffon vine extended from the wrist to the shoulder, fluttering with the rotation, creating an elegant and beautiful scene.

The shallow greenery looked like a thawed creek or the leaves swaying in the wind, carrying the breath of spring.

But for some reason, with the music, this performance depicting spring brought an indescribable emotion. The choreography demonstrated the story of a persistent and determined dreamer who emerged from misfortune, found new dreams on the ice, made many friends, and climbed towards higher goals. The dancer elevated this dream into life with love.

Watching this scene, Masako recalled her conversation with Zhang Jue before the competition started.

At that time, facing her little crocodile who came to visit her after surgery, Masako smiled and finished talking about her own physical condition, then curiously asked him: “For the next season, what program does the little crocodile want to skate?”

Zhang Jue, sitting on the edge of the bed, cutting an apple, replied without much thought: “For the short program, it’s “Adios Nonino”.”

Masako was surprised: “Tango? You’re challenging a new style again. What about the free skate?”

Zhang Jue looked troubled: “I have decided what I want to express in this program, but I haven’t decided on the music yet.”

Masako: “What do you want to express? Tell me. As a figure skater, my music library is quite rich. Maybe I can give you some good suggestions.”

Then Zhang Jue told her: “I want to express the story of someone who has just walked out of misfortune but still feels a bit tired, how they find new dreams on the ice, make many friends, and then climb towards higher heights.”

Hearing his words, Masako thought for a moment: “Hmm, it sounds like a good story, but since you’ve already expressed it directly in “Adios Nonino”, you won’t be satisfied with repeating it in the free skate, right?”

Facing Zhang Jue’s expression of “How do you understand me so well,” she gently suggested: “How about using seasons as a metaphor for this story? For example, use winter to symbolize misfortune, the arrival of spring to signify the departure of misfortune, and the arrival of new happiness. Or maybe skate in April, a time of late winter and early spring.”

“As for the music, personally, I would like to recommend a Norwegian folk-style piece to you. But using only this piece might be a bit sad, so you may need to find someone to adapt it. Originally, if I hadn’t been sick, I planned to use it to compete in the new season.”

She shared the song titled “Appassionata” with Zhang Jue using an MP3 player, and Zhang Jue smiled at her.

“It’s a great piece, indeed suitable for figure skating. If I do the adaptation myself and you’re satisfied, I’ll use it.”

The young boy extended his hand to her, saying: “Even if I can’t personally compete in the new season, it’s okay. I can skate with your share. Your winter has already passed, hasn’t it?”

Later, Zhang Jue indeed used a piece called “La Boitea Musique,” a New Zealand electronic music, along with the classic “Love Story.” He edited together an excellent competition program.

Listening to this music, she thought about many things until she saw this program. She suddenly realized that, although this program, in Zhang Jue’s interpretation, seemed like a cold wind with a hint of ice and snow, it was showcasing the extreme northern spring. After all, spring is still spring.

That person who had once faced misfortune must have never given up on their love for dreams, especially during the most challenging times.

In free skating, there are two sets of steps: choreographic steps and connecting steps. The choreographic steps only have a fixed score of 2 points. After the first group of spins, Zhang Jue performed this set of steps.

Here, he used a very feminine swan-like glide.

The young boy opened his arms to both sides, embracing the wind as he soared on the ice. He swiftly glided over the ice in front of the audience seats, covering more than half of the rink without changing his posture. His ample flexibility allowed him to effortlessly lift his floating foot to a level above his waist while gliding, and in the next instant after the steps, he immediately executed a 3S+3T combination jump.

By this point in the program, each jumping element’s base score was multiplied by 1.1. However, Zhang Jue still had a two-jump combination and three single jumps left.

Maquen, upon seeing this, couldn’t help but exclaim: “A very bold arrangement! Truly deserving of being a well-known powerhouse in the junior division.”

Looking at the position of the 3S+3T, he knew that, given the circumstances, Zhang Jue could easily move this combination jump to the latter part of the program. This method of using stamina to gain more points was quite impressive.

The reason Zhang Jue hadn’t moved this combination jump to the later part was for stability, right? This kid wanted to complete a flawless program, wanting to win against me at this competition.

Realizing this, Maquen felt a shiver. He had indeed encountered a strong opponent this time!

Zhang Jue’s coaching team understood even more what this kid had done.

According to the choreography, this section was originally supposed to be a 4S+2T combination! However, the crocodile from their team, aiming for a higher score, spontaneously swapped the positions of these two jump combinations!

Sure enough, Zhang Jue once again assumed the figure-eight position with both feet, executed a typical S-jump takeoff, and completed a 4S. Although the landing wasn’t perfect, he smoothly added a 2T.

A jumping element with a base score as high as 12.98 points was completed, changing the atmosphere in the arena.

At the beginning of the season, most skaters wouldn’t give their full effort. In all men’s singles, only a few like Maquen and Vasili would include two quadruple jumps in their free skate. However, Zhang Jue’s decision to do so was a clear statement; he wanted to win against Maquen here.

What was even scarier was that he seemed to have the ability to do so.

Some TV stations directly focused their cameras on Maquen’s face for a few seconds. Seeing him still seriously watching the program, they reluctantly moved away.

Two European judges, leaning towards Maquen, frowned. When Zhang Jue executed the 3F and 3Lo, they gave only 0.1 and 0.3 GOE, respectively.

On the other hand, the judge, Lujin, who highly appreciated Zhang Jue’s clean and well-executed techniques, unusually awarded a higher GOE. In his view, these scores were in line with Zhang Jue’s abilities and were the rewards he deserved.

In the game of which even the judges were unaware, these two single jumps received GOEs of 0.85 and 1.1, respectively.

Zhang Jue was oblivious to the scoring controversy surrounding him. At this moment, he had entered the climax of the program, which was the connecting steps.

To match his maturing physique, Madam Mia choreographed steps that no longer had the youthful and lively style of his first season in the junior division. It lacked any trace of coquetry and playfulness, yet it appeared dignified and gentle, balancing both firmness and softness. It had already astonished many when it debuted at a ballet event.

When this program was adapted for figure skating free skating and performed on the ice, it became soothing and majestic. Every movement exuded a strong men’s singles style.

As Shen Liu said Maquen showcased his temperament in his program, Zhang Jue did the same.

With this program, he told everyone that he was not a child. Standing on the ice was an adult men’s singles skater who was powerful, determined, and confident. He wouldn’t be intimidated by his own youth or the dazzling resumes of his competitors, nor would he cease his pursuit of the championship.

Perhaps Maquen’s fans might not be happy that a newly promoted skater wanted to defeat their beloved world number one men’s singles skater. However, Zhang Jue was here, and his strength was undeniable and unchangeable.

Zhang Junbao watched Zhang Jue’s performance with a sense of satisfaction.

This was exactly what he had been hoping for all along – a Chinese men’s singles skater standing on the competition stage, challenging the world champion. Although this moment came unexpectedly early, who would complain about surprises coming sooner than expected?

The speed of this kid’s evolution truly exceeded everyone’s expectations.

Shen Liu’s hand trembled slightly, his breath becoming rapid. Just like Zhang Junbao, Zhang Jue was achieving something they had dreamed of but couldn’t achieve.

After the last jump, a successful 2A, the young man entered into a bow, grabbed the ice skate with both hands, lifted it up, and this time, Zhang Jue didn’t use the water-drop-shaped Biellmann to avoid pain. He forcefully straightened his legs to the maximum, presenting a Biellmann with a 180-degree opening, like a candlestick, in front of the audience.

Finally, he opened both hands to the side, and turned abruptly, revealing a sharp smile.

The program concluded.

Meanwhile, in the city, a tall and straight-backed old man watched the TV, nodding in appreciation: “He’s almost a perfect solo dance genius, capable of completing such a complete dance on his own.”

He turned to look at Mia, teasingly saying: “When I first saw this kid, I instinctively thought he wasn’t your student but Maya’s. Mia, you’re skilled, but you’re too strict and not good at emotional rendering. That’s Maya’s strong suit.”

Madam. Mia replied coldly: “Style is innate and unrelated to the mentor. So, are you suggesting that if his style is like Maya’s, I can’t have him as my student?”

The old man shook his head: “No, but you and Maya are competitors. I always thought you didn’t like her.”

Madam. Mia rolled her eyes: “On the contrary, I really like her because she’s my biggest rival.”

Why else would she be interested in Zhang Jue?

Back on the ice, Maquen stayed still for a few seconds. Looking at the unusually quiet arena after the free skate, he stood up first, raised a sunflower bouquet, threw it onto the ice, and clapped vigorously.

He lost. From the short program to the free skate, he lost thoroughly. Part of it was due to his own mistakes, but Zhang Jue skated so well, indicating he was qualified to claim the ultimate honor of this competition.

Maquen didn’t want these fans who came for him to embarrass Zhang Jue.

After all, isn’t it fortunate for figure skating to have such an outstanding newcomer?

Gradually, those silent fans began to make their voices heard. Zhang Jue calmly bowed and picked up the sunflower bouquet, waving it toward Maquen.

Oh, this Italian man blew him a flying kiss again.

In the 2012-2013 season, Zhang Jue, who had just moved up to the senior division, had his free skate cleaned for the first time in Kent County, USA, delivering a stunning debut in the senior division that amazed everyone.

Many fans who hadn’t paid much attention to the junior division before were stunned by Zhang Jue.

God knows what they saw! It included two 4S and a 3A, a highly difficult configuration, and the performance was outstanding! Despite looking completely like a child, this Eastern young man almost perfectly interpreted the program with no mistakes!

Even fans more inclined towards skaters like Maquen and David couldn’t help but be unwillingly impressed by Zhang Jue’s skill, not to mention Zhang Jue’s own fans.

After the program, Arthur Cohen was silent for a while, feeling uneasy. But after Maquen threw the bouquet, he was the first to stand up, clapping loudly and cheering.

Fans who liked the little crocodile tried to drown this dazzling young skater with “bravo” and “amazing.”

Arthur also shouted at the young man on the ice, “Jue! This program is fantastic!”

Although Zhang Jue didn’t hear his shout and picked up two crocodile plush toys before leaving the ice, Arthur still believed that Zhang Jue was the best skater he had ever seen.

There was no one better than him!

Zhang Jue, breathing heavily, handed the plush toys and bouquet to Yang Zhiyuan, whispering complaints to Zhang Junbao: “It’s not cold when you’re moving, but once you stop, the heat dissipates faster than the rice in Dela bowl.”

Zhang Junbao immediately put a bright red knitted hat on his head, saying: “Then wear more layers.”

Shen Liu wanted to say something but stopped, unable to prevent Zhang Junbao’s actions.

Senior brother, you can add more layers for warmth, but don’t let the kid wear your red hat. Zhang Jue is wearing a green costume today, and red and green together, it ruin the look of any handsome guy!


Support translation:

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. bulbul

    i love it so much thank you for the translations

  2. Kri

    Hello like always a great traduction than you very much, but did you catch the og because you didn’t upload for weeks

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