A silver for Korea’s golden girl
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.
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 [email@example.com]
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