Connect to share and comment
By Yoo Jee-ho
INCHEON, March 20 (Yonhap) -- Fresh off a dominating victory at the recent world championships, South Korean figure skater Kim Yu-na said Wednesday that she will now shift her focus to the Winter Olympics next year in Sochi, Russia.
Kim arrived back from London, Canada, where she overwhelmed the competition to capture the ladies' event at the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships for her second world title.
Kim scored 69.97 points in the short program and 148.34 points in the free skate, for a total of 218.31 points, 20.42 points better than the runner-up, Carolina Kostner of Italy.
It was the second-highest total score ever by a female skater, behind Kim's own world record total of 228.56 points that gave her the gold at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Her victory margin was the largest at the worlds since the current scoring system was put in place in 2005.
This was Kim's first world championships in two years. She had sat out for most of the past two seasons while mulling over her future, and she returned with a bang.
Greeted by hundreds of fans at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, Kim said she was "relieved and happy" to win the biggest event since her comeback last December.
"This was my first worlds in a while, and I was worried that I might make mistakes in competition," she said at a press conference. "I was so pleased that I was able to show everything I'd prepared and skate both programs (short program and free skate) without a mistake."
The resounding victory made Kim an early favorite to win the Olympic gold in Sochi next February. The gold would make Kim only the third female skater to defend an Olympic title.
Kim took a hiatus after winning the gold in Vancouver, which had been her lifelong goal, and admitted to "feeling empty" after the 2010 Olympics. Kim said Wednesday she felt no such emotional letdown after the latest world championship victory, and she will now turn her attention to Sochi.
"Going into the next Olympics, I want to prepare as well as I did ahead of this world championships," she said. "I think then the results will take care of themselves."
She also announced that she will retain her current coaches Shin Hye-sook and Ryu Jong-hyun for next season. Kim reunited with Shin and Ryu, both her childhood coaches, last summer, and their contracts expire at the end of this month. Kim also said she plans to train in Seoul year-around, as she did with Shin and Ryu in the run-up to the world championships.
Kim said she and her choreographer David Wilson of Canada are trying to build new programs for next season. She said she wants to come up with something that could top her free skate from the worlds, which was set to tunes from the musical "Les Miserables."
"This past season, 'Les Miserables' had such great reviews, and we want to have something that will make people forget about that," Kim said. "While I was in Canada, David and I exchanged ideas and listened to a lot of music. But nothing is set in stone yet. And since this is the Olympic season, we will be extra careful in creating our programs."
The 22-year-old, who aspires to become a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after her competitive career, said the 2013-2014 season will be her last. She will skate the entire season, starting with Grand Prix events in the fall and ending with the Olympics in early 2014.
"No one knows what the results will be until the scores flash up on the board," she said. "But since this will be my last competitive season, I want to do my best at every event and leave with no regrets. I want to have a joyous and happy ending at the Sochi Olympics."
<All rights reserved by Yonhap News Agency>