Jan 5, 2014, 10:09 AM EDT
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.
Correction: An earlier version of this article mistakenly stated that Yuna Kim has won nine national titles.
Apr 24, 2014, 9:16 PM EDT
Phelps was swimming competitively for the first time since the London Olympics.
Apr 24, 2014, 5:57 PM EDT
Jones explains difficulty of returning to track workouts.
Apr 24, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT
Phelps is swimming competitively for the first time since the London Olympics.
Apr 24, 2014, 2:01 PM EDT
Olympic bronze medalist explains what President Obama told her about luge.
Apr 24, 2014, 12:42 PM EDT
2012 Olympic alternate announces college plans.
Apr 24, 2014, 9:11 AM EDT
Boston Marathon winner met Derek Jeter, David Ortiz.
Apr 23, 2014, 8:34 PM EDT
Lochte said he almost didn’t come back to swimming after knee injury.
Apr 23, 2014, 6:33 PM EDT
Phelps says he gained 30 pounds in retirement but has shed most of it in training.
Apr 23, 2014, 5:42 PM EDT
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Apr 23, 2014, 2:18 PM EDT
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Apr 22, 2014, 2:44 PM EDT
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Apr 22, 2014, 1:57 PM EDT
Americans’ tactic played small role in Keflezighi’s victory.
Apr 22, 2014, 10:39 AM EDT
Sochi figure skating analysts will be fashion experts at Churchill Downs.
Apr 22, 2014, 10:11 AM EDT
Ohno follows NFL wide receiver, celebrity chef in ambitious attempt.
Apr 22, 2014, 8:21 AM EDT
Johan Bruyneel guided Lance Armstrong’s teams for all seven stripped Tour de France wins.
Apr 21, 2014, 8:42 PM EDT
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Apr 21, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT
First U.S. man to win Boston Marathon since 1983.
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,…
Apr 21, 2014, 11:54 AM EDT
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