Yu-na aims for second world title

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Yu-na aims for second world title

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Kim Yu-na

SEOUL - Korean figure skater Kim Yu-na will go for her second world title next week in Moscow, the new venue for the rescheduled World Figure Skating Championships.

The International Skating Union will run the season’s final competition from April 24-May 1. The event had been scheduled for March 20-27 in Tokyo but was postponed after a devastating earthquake hit Japan in March.

Kim will leave for Moscow tomorrow. This will be her first competitive event since last year’s world championships in Torino, Italy.

Ladies’ figure skating will be the marquee event. The short program is set to start at 6:30 p.m. (Seoul time) on April 29 and free skating will begin at 6:30 p.m. the following day. These are the final two days of competition since only gala exhibitions will be held on May 1.

Kim, the 2009 world champion and 2010 Olympic gold medalist, will perform her short program to music from “Giselle” and her free skate to “Homage to Korea,” a compilation of traditional Korean music.

The 20-year-old had been set to begin her official practice in the Japanese capital on March 20. Following the earthquake, Kim instead returned to Seoul that day from her training camp in Los Angeles and has been training here since with coach Peter Oppegard.

Kim said she will try not to be affected by the scheduling change.

“There have been changes to the timetable, but I will just keep training the way I have all along,” she said during an open practice session late last month. “In the United States, I put myself in perfect shape for March in Tokyo. I will work hard to regain that form.”

Bang Sang-ah, a figure skating analyst with SBS, said the month-long delay could be a blessing in disguise for Kim.

“I think Kim earned an extra month to regroup herself,” said Bang, a former national team figure skater. “Others have been competing all season long and this is the time of the year when their conditioning level drops. But Yu-na has had her sights on the worlds all year long [without other events].”

Bang said Kim has developed “an aura of a champion” after winning Olympic gold and can intimidate just by taking the ice. “She has become more mature since becoming the Olympic champion,” Bang said. “We can’t ask for perfection but she’s experienced enough to overcome one or two minor miscues.”

Kim had earlier said she felt she was close to the form that helped her win the gold at the Vancouver Winter Olympics, where she set world records in the short program (78.50), free skate (150.06) and total points (228.56).

A recent trend in figure skating judging could help Kim threaten her own records.

Koh Sung-hee, a director of figure skating competition at the Korea Skating Union, said judges this season have been more generous with their additional points, known as “grade of execution,” or GOE.

“The ISU has recently encouraged judges to give high points for good performances, whereas in the past, judges were busy reducing points for poor execution,” said Koh, a certified ISU judge. “This could work in favor of Yu-na because she’s a very strong jumper. The ISU wants to separate the good from the average and encourage skaters to have better performances.”

Koh said it will also help Kim that no one seriously threw down the gauntlet during her absence. None of the winners of the six ISU Grand Prix events last winter reached 180 points and three of the winning totals were in the 160s, a dismal score considering Kim’s world record in the free skate alone is 150.06.

“This has made people wait for Yu-na even more,” Koh said. “Some have said they’re waiting for a true champion.”


Yonhap


한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

연아 “모스크바 다녀올게요”

세계선수권 위해 내일 출국

‘피겨 퀸’ 김연아(21·고려대·사진)가 드디어 세계선수권대회에 출격한다.

김연아는 25일부터 열리는 국제빙상경기연맹(ISU) 피겨스케이팅 세계선수권대회에 출전하기 위해 22일 러시아 모스크바행 비행기를 탄다.

출격 준비는 마쳤다. 김연아는 최근 오전 9~10시 사이 태릉선수촌에 도착해 1시간 정도 워밍업을 한 뒤 약 3시간의 빙상 훈련을 매일같이 소화했다. 단독 훈련은 아니다. 국가대표 선수들은 태릉빙상장을 오전 10시부터 오후 2시까지 자유롭게 쓸 수 있다. 국가대표 맏언니인 김연아는 곽민정·김해진·이동원 등 대표 선수들과 함께 은반을 누볐다. 빙상 훈련이 끝나면 빙상장 한편에서 몸을 푸는 마사지를 받고 선수촌 내 체력단련장인 월계관에서 1시간 정도 개인 운동에 매진했다. 집에 갈 채비를 마치면 오후 4시쯤이 된다. 휴일도 없었다. 지난해부터 김연아와 호흡을 맞춘 피터 오피가드 코치와 물리치료사가 훈련 때마다 곁에서 그를 도왔다.

집에 도착한 뒤에는 별다른 일정을 잡지 않았다. TV를 보거나 휴식을 하며 이미지 트레이닝을 했다. 머릿속으로는 하루에도 수십 번 대회장인 아이스 팰리스 메가스포츠에서 새 프로그램 ‘지젤’(쇼트프로그램)과 ‘오마주 투 코리아’(프리프로그램)를 연기했다. 이번 시즌 실전 경험이 없는 김연아에게 이미지 트레이닝은 큰 도움이 된다. 오피가드 코치가 “올 시즌 김연아의 예술성은 한 단계 더 올라왔다. 그렇다고 기술적인 면을 소홀히 한 것은 아니다”고 자신감을 보여 피겨 팬들의 기대도 높다.

23일 대회 장소인 모스크바에 도착하는 김연아는 24일부터 공식 훈련에 나서고 29일 쇼트프로그램, 30일 프리스케이팅에 출전한다. 아이스 팰리스 메가스포츠는 2007년 11월 김연아가 ISU 그랑프리 시리즈 대회인 ‘컵 오브 러시아’에 출전해 프리스케이팅 신기록을 세우며 우승했던 기분 좋은 장소다.

피겨 전문가들도 십중팔구 김연아의 우승을 점친다. 아사다 마오·안도 미키(이상 일본) 등 경쟁자들의 이번 시즌 성적이 그다지 돋보이지 않은 까닭이다.

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