Lipnitskaya not on Yuna’s mind

February 12, 2014
IOC Twitter screen capture.

IOC Twitter screen capture.

By Jung Min-ho

When reporters questioned Kim Yuna about Yulia Lipnitskaya, she laughed and followed it with a Zen-like comment.

”My goal at the Sochi Games isn’t exactly doing better than others. It’s more about reaching the standards I set for myself,’’ Kim told a herd of reporters at Incheon International Airport.

That was the difference she feels from four years ago at the Vancouver Olympics, when she totally focused on winning and went on to grab the gold medal.

“She (Lipnitskaya) just made her debut. But the Sochi Olympics will be my last. The meaning of this Olympics is completely different for us.’’

The 15-year-old Russian prodigy led in her country’s golden performance in the team event by dominating the women’s short program and free skate.

Although she admitted her younger rival is impressive, without saying it out loud, Kim appeared to believe she will only have herself to beat next week.

In Sochi, Kim is looking to become only the third woman ever to repeat as Olympic figure skating champion.

Regardless of Lipnitskaya, it seems hard to imagine her being happy with silver.

The last time Kim failed to finish first at an international event was in the 2011 world championships in Moscow, when she took the silver behind champion Miki Ando of Japan.

“Unlike many other sports, figure skating is not about records. Skaters can’t do well all the time and are not always judged by the same criteria,” Kim said. “I can’t change those things. No matter how it turns out, I have to accept (the result).

“To me, the Sochi Games are meaningful because I’m returning to the Olympics. What I think is important is how I perform on the stage, not the score I get.’’

Kim said her condition is “not bad,” noting that heading to the competition without any injuries is a good thing.

“I tried to adjust to the new program and perfect it,” Kim said. “I think I can do well unless I get nervous.”

Kim will try to adjust to the different time zone and get enough rest in Sochi before the contest. She said she doesn’t have any special plan for additional training there.

Kim Hae-jin and Park So-yeon will make their Olympic debuts in Sochi.

Kim Yuna said she feels “reassured” because of the two, noting that she participated in most international competitions as the only Korean.

“I hope they can do well at the Olympics. I know they have put in so much effort,” she said. “Even if they don’t do well, I hope they don’t get too disappointed. They have so many things to achieve ahead.”