Skating ends with star-filled night

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Skating ends with star-filled night

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Gold medalist Kim Yu-na, fourth from left, and other skaters wave to the crowd after a Gala Show at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver yesterday. [YONHAP]

VANCOUVER - Gold medalists Kim Yu-na and Evan Lysacek brought the curtain down on two weeks of Olympics figure skating yesterday and Joannie Rochette thanked the public for their support in a gala finale.

South Korean superstar Kim took to the ice to the chants of “Yu-Na” from her many fans. The fact that she missed her opening jump didn’t matter, as the 19-year-old’s rivalry with Japan’s Mao Asada was forgotten in her skate to Jules Massenet’s “Meditation from Thais.”

Silver medalist Asada, introduced to the public as the “Queen of the Triple Axel”, skated to Paganini’s “Caprice” while Miki Ando chose the classical “Requiem” by Mozart.

“It’s sad that it’s come to an end. It’s been a dream,” said Lysacek, who performed to Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”

“Tonight we skate freely, without rules, and show our technical skills and passion for performance. The greatest skaters in the world are skating as one. I haven’t got much sleep since [his gold medal performance]. I just want to stay awake to enjoy the whole experience.”

Rochette, 24, skated a Celine Dion-themed tribute “Vole” for her mother, Therese, who died just days before her third-place finish in Vancouver. Wearing dark mauve, the Canadian bronze medalist again earned an ovation from the home crowd, as she bid farewell to the Pacific Coliseum rink which has been the scene of the most painful and memorable moments of her life.

The 12 medalists from the four disciplines - men’s, women’s, pairs and ice dancing - performed during a two-and-a-half-hour show alongside top-placed finishers, children and up-and-coming Canadian skaters. Canada’s first ice dance gold medalists, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, received a rousing reception for their comical routine “Everybody Dance Now” in which she played the ballerina in a black tutu to his Canada ice hockey fan.

Russia’s Evgeni Plushenko, the deposed men’s champion, skated to the French song “Je suis malade” by Serge Lama, while Japan’s Daisuke Takahashi performed to D.J. Okawari’s “Luv Letter.”

China’s acrobatic pairs skaters were well represented, led by gold medalists Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo, who skated to Andrea Boccelli’s “Io Ci Saro.” A spectacular display of fireworks brought the event to a close. AFP
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