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Stylish Jin jumping into global spotlight

By Lei Lei | China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-22 07:34

Jin Boyang is leaping toward his Olympic dream.

En route to finishing second at the ISU Grand Prix Cup of China over the weekend, the 19-year-old impressed the audience and judges with stylish performances, punctuated by high-quality quadruple jumps.

Although he failed to qualify for this season's Grand Prix final due to a fifth-place finish at Skate America last month, Jin has already set his sights on the world championships at the end of the season and the next two Winter Olympics - 2018 in Pyeongchang and 2022 in Beijing.

"I hope I can reach my peak at the Winter Olympics and make a breakthrough for China in men's singles," Jin said. "I will work harder for the breakthrough and for the Games in 2018 and 2022. I want to stand on the podium."

 Stylish Jin jumping into global spotlight

China's Jin Boyang performs during Saturday's free skating competition at the ISU Grand Prix Cup of China in Beijing. Nicolas Asfouri / AFP

China's best result in men's singles at the Winter Olympics is a seventh-place finish by Yan Han at the 2014 Sochi Games.

Leading after the short program at the Cup of China, Jin was edged by three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Canada by 1.18 points after the free program.

Performing to La Strada, Jin's free skating routine was highlighted by a quadruple Lutz, quadruple Salchow and quadruple toeloop-double toeloop, as well as two triple Axels. But he under-rotated on one quad toeloop, which gave Chan the opportunity to catch up.

"I think I performed better than I did in training. The second jump in the combination was not perfect, but the other jumps were not bad," said Jin.

"Skate America didn't go so well for me, so after I came back, I worked very hard."

Jin achieved a season's best 182.37 points in free skating to finish with a total of 278.54.

In only his second senior season, Jin said he has already made big adjustments to improve.

"Compared to my first season, my performances, skating skills and jumps are much more mature. But I know I have to work harder to be more stable and improve my grades of execution," said Jin, who is ranked No 10 in the ISU world standings.

Jin took up figure skating at the age of seven in his hometown of Harbin, Heilongjiang province, after watching a performance by Chinese pairs icons Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo.

He executed a triple Axel at the 2011 Asian championships, and the following year debuted at the ISU junior Grand Prix, where he won the gold medal with eye-catching quadruple jumps.

In his first senior competition at last year's Cup of China, he landed the world's first quadruple Lutz/triple toeloop combination - the highest-scoring technical element.

He is also the first skater to land a quad Lutz at the world championships and the first to complete six quads in any ISU competition.

"Figure skating has a long history worldwide and it feels really good for me to be the first man to achieve something and make some small history," said Jin, who claimed China's first world championship men's singles bronze medal last season.

"For me, doing jumps is not about difficulty; it is how you feel about it and how you set your mind. First you need to have the desire to jump, then you need to have the desire of beating that jump when you take off. That's it."

Jin's accomplishments have made an impression on the world's best.

"He is very competitive, very talented," said Chan, the 25-year-old Canadian superstar. "He can do what I can never do, I think, especially the quad Lutz. I'm very happy for China because in Jin you have a skater to inspire the younger generation."

Jin is now preparing for February's Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan, followed by the Worlds in Helsinki, Finland, in March.

"I hope I can put on two better programs with smoother performances and better details," Jin said. "For both of them, I hope to finish in the top three."

(China Daily 11/22/2016 page22)

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