Beyond perfection

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Beyond perfection


Kim Yu-na, center, during the medal ceremony with silver medalist Mao Asada, right, and bronze medalist Joannie Rochette. [YONHAP]

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Kim Yu-na put one hand to her mouth and let the tears flow.

The “Queen” had taken on all the pressure and delivered royally.


Dressed in an elegant cobalt blue dress, Kim presented an exceptionally graceful free skating program and won the gold medal in world record-setting fashion in women’s figure skating at the Pacific Coliseum yesterday.

Having set a world record of 76.28 points in the short program on Wednesday, Kim soared to 228.56 combined points, shattering her previous mark by more than 18 points. It will go down as one of the greatest performances in figure skating history, and is Korea’s first medal at the Winter Olympics in a sport other than speed skating.

Kim has been dominant this season and made a habit of spectacular performances, but even she was dazzled by this one.

“Oh my God!” she exclaimed when she saw the tremendous score of 150.06 points in the free skating program - a mark her top competitors could only dream of. Kim’s coach, Brian Orser, pumped both arms, shaking his clasped fists over each shoulder.

“I still can’t believe what I have accomplished. I was shocked to see those types of scores and I feel like I’m dreaming right now,” Kim told the media.


Kim Yu-na in her cobalt blue dress during her record-setting free skating routine at the Pacific Coliseum yesterday.

Skating to George Gershwin’s “Concerto in F,” Kim put one hand on the small of her back and gave a flirty little smile that set shutters clicking throughout the building as the music lifted the first time. Kim was flawless in her routine and completed all her seven jumps, including the triple lutz-triple toe loop combination to perfection.

With her rival Mao Asada posting her personal season-best score of 73.78 points in the short program on Wednesday, it was projected Kim would need a score equal to the world record of 133.95 points she earned at the Trophee Eric Bompard in Paris in October of last year to secure a gold medal. Kim shattered the mark with a score that would have been good enough for a top 10 ranking in the men’s competition.

When she finished, you could almost see the pressure fall away as Kim bent over and covered her mouth. The tears continued to flow no matter how hard she tried to blink them back, and she held up her hands helplessly when she reached Orser.

“I’ve seen a lot of skaters shed tears at competitions. It left me wondering as to what kind of feelings led to such emotional reactions,” said Kim. “I cried for the first time after a competition. I don’t know why I did. I was elated and it felt like everything finally came to an end. I wanted to get the Olympics over with.”


In attendance at the Pacific Coliseum were Kim’s parents. It was the first time that Kim’s father watched his daughter compete internationally in person. Kim’s parents were seen weeping in the stands at the end of their daughter’s routine.

“I want to thank my family. Although my mother always accompanies me to competitions, it was the first time my father watched me in person at an international competition. It feels even better to have achieved my lifelong goal with my parents in attendance,” Kim said.

It almost wasn’t fair that Asada, skating next, had to try to better Kim’s performance. She couldn’t. It wasn’t even close. Asada, who has swapped titles with Kim since their junior days, is one of the few women who even tries a point-packing triple axel, and she did two yesterday. But she melted down later, stumbling on the footwork into her triple toe and forcing her to cut it to a single.

“Because there was so much noise from the crowd, I was not able to hear her score,” Asada said. “But judging from the loud reaction, I knew she must have had a great performance.”

Asada looked stone-faced as she waited for her marks, and she didn’t even crack a smile when she got her silver medal. She earned 131.72 points yesterday for a combined total of 205.50 points.

“As I have prepared, I completed the triple axel jump twice ... however, I did not have a great overall performance today. I made some mistakes,” stated a sobbing Asada to the Japanese media.

Joannie Rochette of Canada performed an emotional and expressive portrayal of “Samson and Delilah” to earn 131.28 points in the free skating program and 202.64 total points for a bronze medal. The Canadian skater’s mother had died of a massive heart attack just hours after arriving in Vancouver to watch her daughter skate.

Kwak Min-jung of Korea, competing in only the second senior competition of her career, finished 13th overall with a combined total of 155.53 points.

As for her future plans, Kim stated she would like to enjoy some time off to rest. The newly crowned queen of figure skating will make a brief return to Korea before heading back to Toronto, Canada to start preparing for the ISU World Figure Skating Championships, to be held in Turin, Italy, from March 22 to 28.

By Jason Kim, AP []

Related Korean Article

“피겨 역사상 가장 위대한 연기”

"가장 위대한 피겨스케이팅 연기로 역사에 전해질 것이다", "그녀는 조지 거쉰의 피아노협주곡 F장조에 호흡을 불어넣었다"(AP통신)"여왕이 마법에 홀린 승리로 미끌어지다"(AFP통신)"김연아의 무한 지배가 시작됐다"(LA타임스)

외신들은 찬사를 연발하다 모자라 '시'를 썼다. '피겨퀸' 김연아(20.고려대)가 26일(이하 한국시간) 2010 밴쿠버 동계올림픽 피겨스케이팅 여자 싱글에서 역대 최고점(228.56점)으로 금메달을 획득하자 주요 외신들은 일제히 긴급기사를 송고한 뒤 김연아의 완벽한 연기에 최상의 찬사를 쏟아냈다.

외신들은 김연아의 금메달이 확정된 직후인 이날 오후 1시 54분∼56분 앞다퉈 긴급기사를 타전했다. 우승이 확정되기 전 급보를 날린 매체도 있었다. AFP통신은 '김연아, 여자 피겨 타이틀 획득'이라는 한 줄짜리 기사를 먼저 내보냈고 블룸버그, 신화통신의 플래시(긴급) 뉴스가 잇달아 올라왔다.

일본 교도통신은 "아사다, 실버..김(연아)은 골드"라는 제목으로 긴급기사를 내보냈다.

◇'완벽..예술..눈물 ' 줄이은 찬사

금메달 소식을 먼저 알린 이후에는 김연아의 완벽 연기에 대한 찬사가 줄을 이었다.

AFP통신은 '무결점' 김연아가 그녀의 이름값을 지키며 금메달을 따냈다면서 "세계챔피언은 연기가 끝나고 눈물을 훔쳤다"고 썼다. AFP는 김연아의 프리스케이팅 연기가 '주문을 거는(spell-binding)' 매력으로 관중을 사로잡았다고 보도한 뒤 "내게 이런 날이 왔다는 게 실감 나지 않는다"는 김연아의 플래시 인터뷰 내용을 전했다.

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