Connect to share and comment

Kim Yu-na-talent

PlacardEnlarge
(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

LONDON, Canada, March 17 (Yonhap) -- Musing on her latest accomplishment in an already illustrious figure skating career, South Korean star Kim Yu-na said here Sunday she thinks she's aided in no small part by her natural talent.

On Saturday here in London, southwest of Toronto, Kim captured the ladies' competition at the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships in overwhelming fashion. The 22-year-old scored 69.97 points in her short program and 148.34 points in the free skate for a total of 218.31 points, winning her second world title by more than 20 points over the runner-up, Carolina Kostner of Italy.

This was Kim's first world championships in two years, but her programs were so flawless that it seemed as though she'd never left. In an interview with the South Korean press on Sunday, Kim conceded she might have been helped by some of her natural talent.

"I think I was born gifted," Kim said with a sheepish grin. "Honestly, I can see some athletes who work even harder than I do (but who aren't as successful). On the other hand, I've seen some talented skaters who don't know how good they could be and who don't work as hard. Unless you back up your natural gifts with efforts, it doesn't mean anything."

Kim said she believes practice indeed makes perfect.

"Over the years, I've learned that if you're successful at practice, there's a pretty good chance that you'll also be successful at the actual competition," she said. "Before this competition, I hardly made any mistakes during my practices. That helped me stay calm during the competition."

In the short program, judges felt Kim made one mistake on her jump. They deducted two-tenths of a point from her triple flip, deciding she'd taken off from the outer edge of her skate as opposed to the inside edge. Replays showed, however, Kim's blade tilted closer toward the inside edge and the call could easily have gone in her favor.

Kim said while she found the judges' call "difficult to accept," she tried not to worry too much about it.

"I tried to put it behind me because I couldn't change the call," she said. "I told myself I should do better in free skating."

She didn't get any deduction on her triple flip in free skating, en route to earning the second-highest free skating score ever, behind only her own world record mark of 150.06 points.

Kim also shared a life lesson she's learned from figure skating.

"When skaters do poorly in the short program, they often lose their confidence, but I think it's important to forget it quickly," she said. "In life, sometimes you go through difficult moments, but after a while, you realize it was really nothing. Worrying and stressing over things doesn't change anything."

Kim said she will be free of any worries in the next several months, now that the figure skating season has ended.

"I don't know what I am going to do during my time off, but I am just happy to have a peace of mind," she said. "Before big events, I couldn't completely relax. But now, I am looking forward to having some downtime without worrying about anything."

Kim hinted she will retain her current coaches, Shin Hye-sook and Ryu Jong-hyun, for next season. Their contracts expire at the end of this month.

Since Kim reunited with those two childhood coaches of hers last year, she won the NRW Trophy in Germany in December, the South Korean national title in January and the world championship last weekend.

"Coach Shin has so much coaching and skating experience, and she fully understands what her athletes have to do," Kim said. "She puts me at ease better than other coaches."

Another major offseason task for Kim is to build new programs for the 2013-2014 season with her choreographer, David Wilson.

"With the Olympics coming up (in Sochi next February), we will have to be extra careful in building our programs," Kim said. "A lot of people, including myself, love the free skating program this season ("Les Miserables"), and I am not sure if we can top that."

Kim sat out the entire 2011-2012 season and that the early part of the 2012-2013 season. But in order to build for the Olympics, Kim said she will not skip any part of the next season.

"I will enter the Grand Prix series in mid or late-October, once I am fully used to new programs," she said. "If everything goes well, then I will make the Grand Prix Final (open to the top six skaters from the Grand Prix series) and then the next event will be the Winter Olympics."

Kim won the 2010 Olympic gold in Vancouver in record-breaking fashion. In Sochi, she will try to become only the third female skater to defend an Olympic title.

Kim said the Olympics won't be any different for her than other events.

"I'd like to do well in every competition," she said. "The Olympics is just like any other competition. It's not like I put in more work for the Olympics than for Grand Prix events. I will give my best all the same."

<All rights reserved by Yonhap News Agency>

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/yonhap-news-agency/130317/kim-yu-na-talent