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Yuna Kim runs away with national title in South Korea

Jan 5, 2014, 10:09 AM EDT

Yuna Kim AP

Yuna Kim wasn’t happy with the final jump she had performed in front of her adoring home fans in South Korea Sunday – so she did another.

The reigning Olympic champion ran away with the South Korean Figure Skating Championships, but had popped a double Axel into a single at the end of the free skate, leaving the 23-year-old unsatisfied. So as her name was called for the medal ceremony, Kim skated out and performed a perfectly clean double Axel, showing her nation – and the world – that she’s determined to be ready for Sochi.

The Vancouver gold medalist racked up a score of 227.86 (which is not counted towards her personal bests because it is a national competition, not international), running away with the title in front of a sell-out crowd, most likely the last to see her compete domestically before she retires. See video of her free skate here.

Soyoun Park was second with a 178.17 and Haejin Kim third at 159.15.

Kim was graceful in her “Adios Nonino” tango piece, flowing from element to element. She opened with a triple Lutz-triple toe combination, but later struggled with her Axel combination and finally popped her last planned double Axel. The jump had given her some trouble at her comeback event in Croatia last month, as well.

Kim has skated sparingly since running away with the Olympic title in 2010 with a world-record skate, placing second at the 2011 World Championships before making a grand comeback in 2013, winning the World Championships by a safe margin.

A foot injury forced her out of the Grand Prix season this past year, meaning she’ll attempt to become the first skater to have foregone the major international circuit and still win an Olympic gold since the Grand Prix series was introduced in 1995.

2010 silver medalist Mao Asada is still seen as Kim’s top rival, though Asada was third at the Japanese National Championships two weeks ago and has struggled with her own Axel – the rare triple in ladies’ skating.

2012 world champion Carolina Kostner of Italy and American Ashley Wagner are also seen as medal contenders for the Sochi Games, as are Russian teenagers Adelina Sotnikova and Yulia Lipnitskaya.

The South Korean National Championships marked Kim’s final domestic competition for the 23-year-old, who has said she will retire following the Olympic Games next month.

Yuna Kim not preparing ‘special skills’ for Sochi Olympics

Correction: An earlier version of this article mistakenly stated that Yuna Kim has won nine national titles.

  1. fdsa7410 - Jan 6, 2014 at 12:10 AM

    i2holiday, would you please stop denouncing Yuna with your lying? Now Yuna’s speed and skills get more perfect than 2010 Yuna’s. Every figure skating fan, expert, pundit see that except you. Because you are blind with jealousy.

    I just wanna give you a piece of advice. Stop reading YUNA news and go to a psychiritist.

    Now Yuna is a superstar. It’s natural the media follow her.

  2. zeitungberlin - Jan 6, 2014 at 12:12 AM

    Very weird comments and personal thought!

    Japan skating federation’s changed many regulations of ISU for giving MUCH score to ASADA esp. for triple axel. She’s got the high score at wrong triple axel despite falling down on the ice. it’s cause to the changed regulation that high score should be given to the skater executed high level spin tech. It seems to be very fair on ISU members. However, it’s for ASADA. All the companies to sponsor ISU are japanese. That might be influenced to ISU.

    However, ISU has kept their fairness in Olympic games because Olympic games are for Human nature all around world not for a country.

    U are interested in Yuna Kim very much. so, U have to investigate the change history of ISU regulations. U will know who beneficiary is. Yuna Kim just a skater. She’s just played her performance according to ISU regulations.

    Don’t blame for her! She is a person overcomed many difficulties. YUNA deserve to title “Qeen of skating”. And she will make it in Sochi.

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