Figure Queen returns in style, wins event

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Figure Queen returns in style, wins event

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Olympic gold medalist Kim Yu-na performs during her comeback at the Figure Skating NRW Trophy in Dortmund, Germany, Sunday. Kim won the event. [AP/YONHAP]

Kim Yu-na, who made an impressive comeback from a 20-month break with a winning performance in Germany early yesterday, will likely skip other international events to focus on the World Championships to be held in March, according to her agents yesterday.

“With the requirements fulfilled [for entry to the world championships], I think she won’t compete in other international events before March,” an official of the All That Sports, Kim’s agency, told the Korea JoongAng Daily.

“She will focus on the Korean Figure Skating Championships and the World Figure Skating Championships.”

Kim, the reigning Olympic champion in women’s figure skating, entered the NRW Trophy in Dortmund, Germany, a second-tier event, to earn the points necessary to compete in the 2013 championships, 28 points for her technical elements score (TES) in the short program and 48 in the free skate.

She won the German event, earning 37.42 TES points in the short program and 60.82 TES points in the free skate.

Before the German event, Kim’s agency had applied for Kim’s entry to the Golden Spin of Zagreb, another second-tier event to be held in Croatia this week, just in case she didn’t earn all the necessary points in Germany.

“We have requested the Korea Skating Union repeal our application for the Golden Spin of Zagreb,” the All That Sports official said.

Kim will have to compete in the Korean Figure Skating Championships to be held next month to earn a berth to represent Korea at the world championships. She is a strong favorite to win the event.

The return of the Vancouver Olympic gold medalist to competition was completed five months after she said that she would retire after the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

If she manages a top 10 finish at the world championships, Olympic two berths will be given to Korea. A top-two finish will give three berths to Korea.

During the free skating event in Dortmund, Kim overcame one fall in an otherwise assured free skate routine to receive 201.61 points, including the 72.27 she was awarded for the season’s best short program a day earlier.

“I’m happy that I could reach my goal today,” said Kim.

“At the beginning of the program my spins were going well but I made one mistake. Afterward I felt shaky but I persevered to the end. I was actually surprised at the score I received. That was unexpected. I think I did my best, the best I could, even though I don’t feel I’ve shown all I can do. But overall I’m satisfied with the result today.”

Ksenia Makarova of Russia was second with 159.01 points, while Sweden’s Viktoria Helgesson finished third at 158.93.

Mao Asada of Japan reached the season’s previous best of 196.80 when she won the Grand Prix Final on Saturday in Sochi.

“If we do end up in the same competition, I think we will each just focus on our own choreography and skating,” Kim said when asked about her biggest rival.

Kim, known as “Queen Yu-na” in her Korean homeland where she enjoys rock star status, hadn’t competed since the world championships in Moscow in April 2011, creating unprecedented demand for tickets to see her return at the International Skating Union-sanctioned competition.

The modest 200-capacity venue sold out in two hours, security was drafted in for the first time in the six years of the event, and one woman even brought along her poodle.

With indelible poise and sublime grace, Kim started her routine to music from “Les Miserables,” launching herself fearlessly into jumps and landing with implausible softness.

She landed six triple jumps, a triple Lutz-triple toe combination and four more triple jumps. But she fell on a double toe loop after a lapse in concentration and acknowledged that the rest of her routine was affected despite earning 129.34 points, 22 in front of Japan’s Satsuki Muramoto and 29.88 more than Makarova, who placed sixth in the free skate.

By Moon Gwang-lip, AP [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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