Sunday, March 29, 2009

World Champion: Kim Yu Na

figure skating
World champion flexibility!
Source: ESPN

Kim Yu-na won the title at the World Figure Skating Championships on Saturday night, setting off celebrations from Southern California to South Korea. Already treated like royalty at home -- her nickname is Queen Yu-na and she wears tiny, sparkling crowns in her ears -- her popularity is sure to grow now that she's given South Korea its first world title.

"I'm sure the whole globe shook," said Kim's coach, two-time Olympic silver medalist Brian Orser. "The whole country of Korea must be elated."

Kim won in record fashion, too. Her 207.71 points were the highest scored under figure skating's current judging system, shattering the old mark by eight. She was more than 16 points ahead of Joannie Rochette. Main rival Mao Asada was almost 20 points behind, falling to fourth.

When she saw the scores, Kim closed her eyes and shook her head. She then stood up, beaming, and waved to the cheering crowd. She cried as the South Korean anthem played.

"Always when I heard the anthem [before], I got teary and it got to the verge of crying. But I always kept it in," she said. "Today because it was a dream come true, I couldn't hold it in."

Rochette won the silver, Canada's first medal at the world championships since Liz Manley also won silver in 1988. Miki Ando, the 2007 world champion from Japan, was third.

Asada tumbled off the medals podium a year after winning the title. She'll have to console herself with trying two triple axels, a first by a woman at worlds. She fell on the second one.

Two triple axels! That's crazy for a girl. I can remember when girls first attempted triples of any kind! I can even remember men in Calgary 1988 barely doing triple axels. One day girls will do quads! Crazy!

So Korea first, Canada second and Japan third and fourth. Should set up for a great Olympic competition next year in Vancouver!

And she can sing too!

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