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Kim Yu-na begins quest for second Olympic title
By Jung Min-ho
What is left for a figure skater who has already achieved her dream of winning an Olympic gold medal? Kim Yu-na, 23, said her biggest goal of her final season is to “leave a good impression, and give myself good memories.”
The reigning Olympic champion left for Croatia Tuesday to compete at the Golden Spin of Zagreb, which will be her first international contest this season ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics in February.
The women’s short program is scheduled for Friday, with the free skate to be held the next day. She will unveil her Olympic programs for the first time.
“I already achieved my dream of winning an Olympic gold medal. So, I don’t feel any pressure that I have to win again,” Kim told reporters at Incheon International Airport before the departure. “I actually feel very relaxed. Besides, I don’t even think about the Olympics yet. I just want to concentrate on my first event of this season.”
Kim said she was almost fully recovered from a foot injury that kept her from participating in the International Skating Union Grand Prix events in October and November.
“I’m trying to keep myself in competitive shape,” she said. “I still need to improve my condition and stamina for the Olympics, which is the focus of my preparation. I started my season later than many others. So, I’ve tried my best to make it up.”
“This is my second Olympics,” she said. “What is most important for me is just to stay composed on the ice.”
Asada Mao is regarded as Kim’s long-time rival. The silver medalist at the 2010 Vancouver Games recently said Kim is her “driving force.”
Kim also expressed her respect for Asada who motivated her to become what she is now.
“I wouldn’t be able to achieve what I have, if she wasn’t there,” Kim said. “We have motivated each other since we were young.”
“Asada will have her final season, too. I hope we do everything we can so that there will be no regrets after we retire.”
In Zagreb, two-time world champion Ando Miki and Russian champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva are expected to be Kim’s main challengers.