Growing Up In Tropical Malaysia, Julian Yee Reveals How He Achieved The Astounding Feat Of Qualifying For The Winter Olympics

  • Print
Julian Yee, Malaysia's second athlete to qualify for 2018 Winter Olympics.Julian Yee, Malaysia's second athlete to qualify for 2018 Winter Olympics.
Recently, our national figure skater Julian Yee Zhi Jie made headlines all over the country, as he finally secured his spot in the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Coming from a tropical and winterless country, Julian’s qualification in the biggest event of winter sports means a lot for Malaysians. He has received endless praise from his countrymen, and even Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself has dedicated a tweet to congratulate the 20-year-old ice skater.
This latest achievement comes in the wake of his recent triumphant performance in the KL2017 Sea Games where he made his countrymen proud by clinching gold the men’s figure skating competition.
Speaking to Malaysian Digest from Barrie, Canada, his road to Winter Olympics qualification was no easy feat.
“I managed to qualify for the Olympics after my performance in the recent 2017 Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany. Fortunately, my performance in the competition has earned me a spot in the Olympics,” said Julian.
The Nebelhorn Trophy was the last chance for aspiring skaters to qualify in the Olympics, as only the six top skaters would be chosen. After losing out his first chance in the Helsinki World Championships, Julian’s brilliant performance in Nebelhorn has placed him in the top six spots among the 26 competing skaters.
Despite his young age, he has clocked in many years of ice skating under his belt as he has been skating for 16 years.
Julian is currently the second Malaysian to qualify in the Winter Olympics, after Malaysian skier Jeffrey Webb booked his spot back in July.
Unlike Jeffrey, who grew up and conducted the bulk of his training on the snowy mountains of the United States, Julian mostly skates in the ice rinks available in Malaysia.
“I grew up in Malaysia. I learned the basics and skills of ice skating here, in the Sunway Pyramid ice rink. Later on, I would practice in the IOI ice rink as well. 
“Only two years ago, I have started to travel to Canada for on-and-off training. However, I would say the majority of my skating time was spent in Sunway,” he said.
Julian has been skating competitively in Ice Skating Institute (ISI)-sanctioned competitions since he was five. After Malaysia was registered under the International Skating Union (ISU) in 2009, he advanced his competitive career by participating in various international competitions, starting with the 2011 ISU Junior Grand Prix.
Later, he proceeded to record impressive marks in many Junior Grand Prix and Junior World Championships, and even became the first Malaysian to qualify for the Youth Winter Olympics in 2016.
When it comes to preparation for the upcoming Olympics, his training is more than just skating on the ice rink.
“I would skate every day at the ice rink for three hours at least. Besides that, I do off-ice training as well, such as cardio, strengthening and sometimes ballet for balancing,” said Julian, who looks up to Japanese ice skating champion Daisuke Takahashi for inspiration.
Since he has become the first Malaysian ice skater to compete in a Winter Olympics, Julian has high hopes for other Malaysians to follow in his footsteps for the future Olympics.
“Provided with the correct guidance and facilities, we have a lot of potential in developing more skaters. I see a lot of talent from the younger ones.
“I made a lot of costly mistakes when I was developing myself, and I hope future ice skaters will not make the same mistakes,” he recalled. 
To aspiring ice skaters, Julian urges them to never give up in chasing their goals.
“It is okay to make some mistakes along the way, but as long as you don’t give up and possess the mindset, the achievement will definitely be worth it,” the Olympian concluded.
Julian also has a YouTube channel where he shares his competition experience and training sessions with his fans and supporters.
Malaysian Digest would like to congratulate our winter athletes for their qualification in the 2018 Winter Olympics, and we hope they can blaze a trail to glory for our tropical nation.
-- mD