A silver for Korea’s golden girl

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A silver for Korea’s golden girl


Kim Yu-na takes a celebratory lap around the Palavela Ice Rink in Turin, Italy, after the medal ceremony yesterday. Kim placed second overall at the 2010 ISU World Figure Skating Championships. [YONHAP]

Despite getting off to a sluggish start in the short program Saturday, Kim Yu-na managed a second-place finish with a strong performance in the free skating program at the International Skating Union World Figure Skating Championships in Turin, Italy, yesterday. Mao Asada of Japan won her second consecutive World Championship and Laura Lepisto of Finland placed third.

In her familiar free-skating routine to the Concerto in F by George Gershwin, Kim completed her signature triple lutz-triple toe loop combination, but stumbled on the triple salchow and failed on the double axel. Despite the glitch toward the end, Kim managed to earn 130.49 points in the free-skating portion, the highest grade in the field of 24 skaters.

“I only had about a week to prepare for the World Championships,” Kim explained. And her lack of preparation was clear in the short program, where she earned a disappointing 60.30 points for seventh overall. It was her lowest total in the short program since she entered the senior ranks back in 2006.

Despite missing the opportunity to sweep all major events this season - the ISU Grand Prix Final, Winter Olympics and the ISU World Figure Skating Championships - Kim seemed more relieved to have finally completed the season than anything else.


김연아가 28일 새벽(한국시간) 프리 스케이팅 직후 관중에 웃음으로 답하고 있다(오른쪽). 왼쪽은 전날 쇼트프로그램 직후 얼굴을 가리고 점수를 기다리는 모습. [AP=연합뉴스]

“It was a season of many ups and downs. I am happier at this point than at the Olympics,” a smiling Kim told the Korean press. “Like most athletes, I looked forward to the end of this season even before it got started. Regardless of the results, I am happy to have overcome many of the obstacles.”

Kim’s comments are understandable, considering that she had been competing and training to win a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. In recent interviews, Kim has sounded every bit like an athlete who was physically and mentally drained.

According to a Korean Skating Union official, Kim gave firm confirmation of her intention to compete in the World Championships merely a week ago.

“I slacked off because I didn’t want to skate,” Kim said. “I was scared to enter another competition so soon after the Olympics.”

Having trained with her coach, Brian Orser, for the Olympics for the past two to three years, it was difficult for Kim to get in game shape with less than a month remaining until the World Championships.

This figure-skating season on the books, Kim will return to Korea on Wednesday for some rest before she skates in the Festa on Ice from April 14 to 18 in Seoul.

The biggest concern for figure-skating fans is Kim’s future. Kim can either continue to compete in international competitions and skate in the 2014 Sochi Winter Games or she can retire and turn pro.

“I think she’s debating her options at this point. She hasn’t decided on anything yet,” said a person close to Kim.

If Kim decides to go pro, she will most likely focus on her studies at Korea University and participate in ice shows on a regular basis. Even if she decides to compete at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Kim will likely take some time off from training and competitions.

“When the Olympics are over, I want to do all the things I couldn’t do in the past. I want to visit places and eat all the food I couldn’t have when I was in training,” Kim said prior to the start of the Olympics.

By On Nu-ri, Jason Kim [jason@joongang.co.kr]

Related Korean Article

“기권 생각할 만큼 컨디션 최악…정신이 반쯤 나가 있었다”
쇼트 실수 딛고 선수권 2위

김연아(20·고려대)는 “올림픽이 끝났을 때보다 더 기쁘다”고 했다. 그에게는 마치 10년처럼 느껴진 한 달이었다. 김연아는 지난달 26일 밴쿠버 겨울올림픽에서 금메달을 획득했다. 그리고 꼭 30일 만에 국제빙상경기연맹(ISU) 세계선수권대회에서 은메달을 따냈다.

김연아는 28일(한국시간) 이탈리아 토리노에서 끝난 여자 싱글 프리 프로그램에서 130.49점을 받아 전날 쇼트프로그램 점수(60.30점)를 합쳐 총점 190.79점으로 2위에 올랐다. 우승은 197.58점을 받은 아사다 마오(일본)가 차지했다.

◆무리한 출전=밴쿠버 올림픽에서 금메달을 딴 에반 라이사첵(남자 싱글)과 선쉐-자오 홍보(페어)조는 이번 세계선수권에 출전하지 않았다. 올림픽 금메달리스트들은 대부분 그해 열리는 세계선수권을 건너 뛴다. 목표 의식을 갖기 힘들 뿐 아니라 ‘잘 해야 본전’이라서다. 김연아도 출전을 두고 고민했다. 그는 “올림픽 후 스케이트를 신고 싶지 않아 빈둥거렸다”고 했다. 하지만 그는 대회에 나서야 했다. ISU가 1월 말 4대륙대회에 불참했던 김연아가 세계선수권에는 참가해주길 바랐기 때문이다. 또 김연아가 이번 대회에서 좋은 성적을 거둘 경우 한국의 내년 세계선수권 출전권이 늘어난다는 점도 작용했다. 김연아는 대회 직전 “정신이 반쯤 나가 있었는데 현지에 도착하니 이제 좀 기분이 난다”고 했다.

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