Kim Yu-na gets favorable draw

January 27, 2014

To skate in Group 4 in Sochi

Kim Yuna's chance of defending her Olympic title  may have just improved.

Kim Yuna’s chance of defending her Olympic title may have just improved.

By Kwon Ji-youn

Figure-skating megastar Kim Yu-na is about as sure-fire a gold-medal candidate as there is among the athletes booked for the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Now, observers think her odds improved even further after she was placed in the fourth group of skaters competing in the women’s individual competition that begins on Feb. 20.

In the Olympics, athletes in figure-skating appear in reverse order of the world rankings.

While Kim, the reigning Olympic champion, is clearly the woman to beat at Sochi, her world ranking slipped to No. 15 as she missed several scheduled appearances during the 2013-14 season after suffering a foot injury in September.

She now seems comfortably distanced from the injury, winning the Golden Spin of Zagreb event in Croatia and the Korean national championship in dominating fashion.

Kim’s current place in the world rankings means that she will compete in the latter half of the event at Sochi, but before many of her closer rivals in groups five and six.

While Kim has been known for her coolness under pressure, she had said in several interviews that she prefers performing earlier in competitions rather than waiting anxiously for her turn.

Competing in group four will also make it easier for Kim to put pressure on her real competitors for Olympic hardware, such Asada Mao of Japan.

Meanwhile, skaters Kim Hae-jin and Park So-yeon, both 17, who will represent Korea in women’s figure-skating along with Kim Yu-na, were placed in group two. Kim Hae-jin and Park So-yeon made their debuts in international senior competition at the 2014 Four Continents Championships in Taipei on Saturday, and finished sixth and ninth, respectively.