Dec 3, 2013, 10:01 AM EDT
Back comes Yuna Kim to figure skating this coming weekend. The reigning Olympic gold medalist will not be joining her peers at the Grand Prix Final in Japan, instead setting down her blades on competitive ice for the first time in nearly nine months at a lower-level Senior B event, Golden Spin, in Zagreb, Croatia.
The last time the South Korean skated was at the World Championships earlier this year, another event that was deemed a comeback for Kim, who had not skated prior to that since Worlds in 2011. Said comeback was deemed a major success as Kim claimed gold.
Plans had been made for the 23-year-old to return to the ice this season for two Grand Prix events, but a metatarsal injury in her right foot set her out for an estimated six weeks at the end of September, and it was announced early last month that she was targeting Golden Spin to test out her state of recovery.
“I’ve been slowly working myself back to competitive shape,” Kim told reporters in Seoul Tuesday, according to Yonhap News. “Honestly, I feel that I need to improve my conditioning for the Olympics, which is the most important competition there is, but there is still some time to do that.”
Kim said she was “80 to 90 percent” healed from the foot injury and says she feels “absolutely no pressure to win” at the Olympics in February.
Kim – who also owns six World Championship medals and 10 (including nine gold) South Korean National Championship medals – will be absent from the Grand Prix Final for the fourth year running. Her main rival Mao Asada, a silver medalist at the Vancouver Games, leads the filed there, which also includes American Ashley Wagner and a host of Russian teenagers.
Kim wowed at the World Championships earlier this year, skating to a 20-point win over defending champion Carolina Kostner and Asada, who was third. The event marked the beginning of her Sochi campaign, which the reigning Olympic champion has said will be her last Olympics despite her home country hosting the Games in 2018.
Doubt creeped into Kim’s ability to defend her gold when the news of her injury broke in September, but just four weeks later she confirmed that she was not only back on the ice, but performing jumps at a high level.
“I am mostly pain free, and I can do all the triple jumps,” she said in late October.
“I want to have a greater experience than any other competition before,” Kim added in regards to Sochi, noting that it would be her final Olympics.
Kim is still seen as the heavy favorite for the Sochi Games in February. She’ll debut two new programs in Zagreb: “Send in the Clowns” for her short and “Adios Nonino,” a tango piece, for her free skate. The ladies short program takes place Friday afternoon with the free skate concluding the event Saturday.
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Apr 21, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT
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Apr 21, 2014, 1:21 PM EDT
Meb Keflezighi made history on an emotional day at the 2014 Boston Marathon by becoming the first American man to win the race since 1983. Watch highlights of the 38-year-old Keflezighi’s victory here, courtesy of Universal Sports: Keflezighi reacts to his historic win and the emotion of winning one year after the Boston Marathon bombing,…
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Apr 21, 2014, 10:53 AM EDT
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Apr 21, 2014, 9:58 AM EDT
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Apr 21, 2014, 9:38 AM EDT
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Apr 19, 2014, 12:10 PM EDT
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Apr 19, 2014, 11:41 AM EDT
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Apr 18, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT
Monday’s race figures to come down to two men.
Apr 18, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
An American with Massachusetts ties wants to win.
Apr 17, 2014, 1:59 PM EDT
Mark Wells previously sold his gold medal, too.
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