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After finishing Thursday's short program as the leader with 69.97 points, Kim drew the 24th and the final pick for free skating at the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships.
Among 35 skaters who entered the short program, only the top 24 qualified for free skating. They have been divided into four groups of six, with ice being resurfaced after each group ends the routine.
Kim will take the ice at 10:46 p.m. on Saturday local time in London, southwest of Toronto, and at 11:46 a.m. on Sunday in Korean time.
Making her first world championships appearance in two years, Kim showed she hasn't missed a beat. She nailed all three of her jump elements, her takeoffs and landings just as powerful and smooth as they had been when she won her first world title in 2009 and the Olympic gold in Vancouver in 2010.
Kim was docked 0.20 points on her triple flip for taking off on the outside edge of her skate as opposed to the inside edge, though replays showed it was only a minor flaw and the call could easily have gone the other way.
She received "level three" on two of her spins, one below the maximum "level four," but she still earned bonus points on them for her execution.
Kim takes a 3.11-point lead going into free skating over the 2012 champion Carolina Kostner of Italy, who still led the field in program component score, which measures skaters' artistry and choreography, despite falling on the second jump of her triple-triple combination. Kostner will be the 21st skater in free skating.
Kanako Murakami of Japan, after skating perhaps the most technically sound short program, is 3.33 points behind Kim in third place. She will skate right before Kostner.
The final day of ladies' competition may not be a coronation for the Korean skater nicknamed "Queen," but Kim said she will try to stay as calm and composed as she can.
"I am not going to worry too much about the final result," she said. "I will try not to make mistakes and show everything I've done in practices."
Mao Asada, a two-time world champ who many felt would be the biggest rival to Kim this week, only ranked sixth with 62.10 points. She two-footed her landing on her triple axel and managed just a single rotation on her triple loop.
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