Ice Network

Jumping maestro Jin learning to control the dragon

Chinese youngster dreams of free skate with only quads, triple axels
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Boyang Jin does not see a quintuple jump in his future, although he doesn't rule out the possibility of a quadruple axel. -Getty Images

China's Boyang Jin has become one of figure skating's great hopes for the future. Just two weeks ago, at the NHK Trophy in Japan, he pushed the boundaries of the sport even further by performing a quad lutz-triple toe -- the first time that element had been successfully completed in international competition. Jin is in third place heading into Saturday's free skate at the Grand Prix Final. He talked with icenetwork at the end of his practice session Friday…in which he landed his quad lutz-triple toe again. (Note: China's team leader served as an interpreter for this interview.)

Icenetwork: Last year you came in fourth at the Junior Grand Prix Final, and this year you qualified for the senior event. How did that happen?

Jin: This year feels much better, actually. I did not feel good in the junior category; I feel much better with the seniors. I can perform better. I can do the jumps I want (to do).

Icenetwork: You had a great showing at NHK. What will you remember about that competition?

Jin: I loved the way it was organized. The organizers did a very good job there. Also, I loved the fans; they are more numerous (in Japan) than anywhere else in the world!

Yuzuru [Hanyu] is my role model, and I want to catch him. I also like Shoma [Uno]; we are the same age, and we like to compete together. In the future, I hope that we can become friends.

Icenetwork: If you could construct the future "Boyang Jin" as a skater, as in a dream, how would you like to see yourself?

Jin: If I had a dream, I would dream of my free program with only quad jumps or triple axels, and no other triples at all. (completely serious)

Icenetwork: You have increased your world fame thanks to your jumps. What do they mean to you?

Jin: I've always liked jumping. Now I have three quads in my arsenal: the toe loop, the salchow and the lutz. I don't think that jumps are difficult. It's hard to explain…

Icenetwork: Have you thought of adding a fifth revolution and trying quintuple jumps?

Jin: (laughs) Oh no! Never! The quadruple axel maybe, but I've never tried it. I have not thought of it, either.

Jumps are important, but presentation is equally important. Right now, my jumps are rewarded higher than my presentation. (Jin reeled off 47.99 points for his technical elements in the short program, compared to Javier Fernández's 44.56. But the Spaniard amassed 46.96 for his components, whereas Jin received 38.96 points.) I should work to catch up on the presentation now.

What I should do is work to have more stable jumps, and pay more attention to steps and presentation during my performance.

Icenetwork: Your biography lists one of your hobbies as model cars. What kinds of cars do you collect?

Jin: Oh, they fly! There are not only cars; there are planes and helicopters…like drones. You buy a handle or a joystick, and you play with them. We use them outside and make them fly. I play with professionals, not with my friends. It's a good hobby.

Icenetwork: You also list music as a hobby.

Jin: Yes, I like music. DJ music, mostly. I listen to CDs. I don't go to concerts. I don't play music either myself.

Icenetwork: You picked interesting music for your free program. Can you explain to us how and why you picked it?

Jin: It's "Dragon Racing" (by John Powell). I chose it myself. I like that cartoon.

Icenetwork: What is it about?

Jin: The cartoon tells you how to train the dragon. First, you have to know the dragon. And second, you have to control the dragon. That's what my program is about.

Icenetwork: You're a dragon master, then?

(Jin laughs, nodding his head.)

Icenetwork: Is the dragon that incredible quad lutz-triple toe combination you're landing?

Jin: Oh no! I'd rather say that difficult jumps are like a tool, or a special skill to control the dragon, actually.

But I don't think of big jumps only. I focus on movement, according to my feelings. I focus more on feelings and attitudes.

Icenetwork: What about presentation, then? Do you see it as another tool, just like the jumps, to control the dragon?

Jin: (without a doubt or a thought) Oh, no. With regard to the cartoon, I do not see presentation as a tool. I see it rather as the feeling, the emotion and the contact with the animals…