Park So-youn wins Nationals, Kim Yuna presents awards

January 9, 2015
Park So-yeon, top, smiles after receiving a bouquet from Kim Yuna. (Yonhap)

Park So-youn, top, smiles after receiving a bouquet from Kim Yuna. (Yonhap)

By Kwon Ji-youn

Fans saw a glimpse of legend Kim Yuna in Park So-youn when the 17-year-old skated her way to the top of the podium at the Mokdong Ice Rink, Friday.

Park ended rival Kim Hae-jin’s dominance at the 2015 Korea Figure Skating Championships, earning 113.99 points in the free skate for a combined short-free score of 174.39. Park also outskated Choi Da-bin, 15, by 13.59 points, and An So-hyun who finished third with 157.42.

Kim Hae-jin has won this event three times (2010, 2011, 21012), but the fourth place in the free skating wasn’t enough to pull Kim onto the podium this time. She finished fifth with 152.86.

Park’s free skate began precariously when she skipped her first triple lutz jump, and wavered on her triple salchow-triple toe loop combination. But she regained control thereafter to successfully land a double axel-triple toe loop combination, and followed with a solid combination spin.

In the short program Thursday, Park performed cleanly to take the lead with a technical elements score of 34.81 and a program components score of 25.59 for a total of 60.4.

The 17-year-old skated with grace and polished her performance off with intensity, landing all three jumps with remarkable ease. She stepped off the ice looking satisfied and relieved.

Kim, however, stumbled on her first combination jump to finish 12th with 50.21 points. Meanwhile, 14-year-old Choi went from 12th in the Korean Skating Union (KSU) President Cup Ranking Competition to second in the championship short with 54.04, while 13-year-old An made a lucrative jump from the junior to senior competition to finish third with 53.33.

Kim retaliated with a solid and dynamic free skate Friday, but it wasn’t enough to bring Park down.

This marked Park’s first gold at the Nationals ― she had to settle for silver over the last three years but at the Korea Skating Union (KSU) President Cup Ranking Competition, which together with the championship serves as a national team member draft, she topped the podium for the fourth consecutive year.

Park has now earned a ticket to the World Figure Skating Championship to take place in Shanghai in March.

Men’s senior competition

Though Kim Jin-seo skated cleanly Wednesday in the short to take an early lead, he made critical mistakes in the free skate to finish second with 197.84 points. Kim began strong to the “Legends of the Fall” original sound track, but lost his balance on a triple axel-triple toe loop combination and a second triple axel.

The gold went to his rival Lee June-hyoung instead, who stumbled on his first triple axel, but redeemed himself by successfully landing a second triple axel and triple flip-triple toe loop combination. His triple flip was solid, as was his triple lutz-double toe-double loop combination.

This marked Lee’s return to the national throne after having yielded it to Kim last year. Lee, who has consequently seized the only ticket to the world championships in March, also has become the first male skater to surpass the 200-point mark at the Nationals with 209.90 points.

“I’m happy to have won, but I did leave the ice with some regrets,” Lee told The Korea Times immediately after he was announced winner. “My goal was to surpass 210 points, but I’m satisfied with having capped 200. In preparation for the world championships in March, I’ll be working on the trivial errors I made, to ensure I perform at a senior level.”

Kim Min-seok finished fourth in his last competition before retirement. The 21-year-old fell to his knees as his free skate came to a close, and left the ice in tears. Cha Jun-hwan, 13, finished third.

Kim Yuna presents medals

Kim Yuna appeared at the Mokdong Ice Rink Friday to watch young figure skaters perform and to present them with medals.

In an interview at the rink, Kim said that she was proud of all of them, and that she is enjoying watching them grow.

“Watching the competition was great fun,” she said. “I am grateful to the senior skaters, who have been leading the juniors so well. Even the elementary and middle school-aged skaters have what it takes to perform at the international level. I look forward to seeing their achievements.”






  1. dhjh811

    January 9, 2015 at 10:31 PM

    Uhh… You said the defending champion kim was fifth but the defending champion was kim yuna, not kim haejin who was fifth. Kim yuna already retired and could win at these kind of competitions even with like 10 mistakes…

  2. dhjh811

    January 9, 2015 at 10:35 PM

    And you also seem to be confusing the free with the short. It keeps going back and forth such as when you said park popped her lutz and the landing of the triple toe loop at the end of her combination had minimal flow but had good combination spin. That was actually in the long but you talk about it as if it was her short program and then you talk about kim haejin’s short program and how she got 50.12, but just earlier you we’re talking about park’s long program…