LONDON, Canada, March 16 (Yonhap) -- Kim Yu-na is back atop the figure skating world.
The South Korean star captured the ladies' competition at the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships here in Canada on Saturday with 218.31 points in total. She scored 148.34 points to lead Saturday's free skating, adding to her 69.97 points that also topped the field in the short program on Thursday.
This is Kim's second world title, following her 2009 victory in Los Angeles. She was skating at the worlds for the first time since 2011, when she finished second.
Her winning total is the highest score by a female skater this season. It is also the second-best score in Kim's career behind only her world record 228.56 points, which she scored to win the gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
Carolina Kostner of Italy, the 2012 world champion, finished second to Kim with 197.89 total points. She was second behind Kim in short program with 66.86 points and earned 131.03 points in free skating.
Mao Asada of Japan finished third with 196.47 points. She was sixth after the short program with 62.10 points but earned the second-highest free skating score of 134.37 points, despite some glaring miscues on her jumps.
Skating to a compilation of music from the popular musical "Les Miserables," Kim nearly matched her world record free skating score of 150.06 points from the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
She opened with a perfect triple lutz-triple toe loop combination, setting the tone early for what would be a flawless program.
She also nailed her triple flip for her second jump. In the short program, Kim was docked 0.2 point on the triple flip for taking off on an outer edge of her skate as opposed to the inside edge, though replays showed the call could easily have gone the other way. On Saturday, Kim left no room for disputed judging.
With clean spins and step sequences connecting her jumps, Kim nailed the difficult three-jump combination, with a double axel followed by double toe loop and double loop. She then punctuated the program with another double axel and a combination spin, drawing a standing ovation at Budweiser Gardens.
After the victory, Kim admitted to battling some butterflies in her stomach while waiting for her turn as the last among 24 skaters to take the ice. She said she was glad to have performed both her short program and free skating without mistakes.
"I'm pleased that I won my last world championships," said Kim, who aspires to become an International Olympic Committee member after the Sochi Olympics. "I expected a pretty good score because I gave 100 percent, but I never imagined I would score so high. This one will stay with me for a long time."
Kim said she had been a lot more relaxed leading up to this world championships compared to her run-up to the 2010 Olympics and said she kept trying to not put too much pressure on herself or get caught up in results.
Looking ahead to Sochi, Kim insisted her mindset will be the same.
"It'd be nice if I post good results," she said. "But if I think too much about results, I will be stressed out. So I am trying to relax."
She said her free skating this weekend will be a major boost to her confidence.
"This season, I've grown more comfortable with my jumps and I've minimized my mistakes," she said. "I feel quite settled in technically. I hardly made any mistakes during my practices here and that's likely why I was mistake-free during the competition."
The resounding victory completes an impressive comeback for Kim, who'd sat out the entire 2011-12 season and the early portion of the 2012-13 season while contemplating her future. She only returned to competition in December last year but had won both of the events she entered since the comeback -- the NRW Trophy in Germany in December and the South Korean national title in January -- before the worlds.
Kim's second world crown also bodes well for her bid to become only the third female skater to defend an Olympic gold medal. In five of the past five Winter Olympics, the world champions from the previous year have gone on to win the Olympic gold. Kim herself is part of the streak, having claimed her first world title in 2009 and then her first Olympic gold in 2010.
By taking the world title, Kim also gave South Korea three spots in ladies' figure skating at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. She needed to finish in the top two to win three Olympic berths for the country. A place between third and 10th would have meant two Olympic tickets.
At the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, South Korea sent two female skaters, Kim and Kwak Min-jung. The country has never had three figure skaters at a single Winter Olympics.
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