Kim Yu-na begins quest for second Olympic title

December 3, 2013
Kim Yu-na waves to her fans at the Incheon International Airport before leaving for Croatia, Tuesday. / Yonhap

Kim Yu-na waves to her fans at the Incheon International Airport before leaving for Croatia, Tuesday. (Yonhap)

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.

One Comment

  1. Jason K

    December 3, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    There are many “A” class skaters in the world, many currently in Japan. However, Yu-na is far above the rest of the “A” class skaters. She is in a class above and beyond the rest. Because of their age, career, media hype and since there was none other to compare with , Yu-na was often compared to Asada Mao for many years. However, for the last two years leading up to Vancouver Olympic in 2010, Yu-na was flying far above Asada in her technique, composure and artistic quality, a poetry in motion. She can’t be compared to anyone.

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