Monday, December 15, 2008

Kim Yu-na Braces for Fresh Challenges Ahead

“Although I missed the gold medal, I feel confident that I can do well in big competitions now that I’m in my third season on the senior circuit. I learned a lot from the mistakes I made in this competition.” So said Kim Yu-na after a somewhat disappointing second-place finish in the 2008 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province on Saturday.

At only 18, the best should still be ahead of her. The lineup includes the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships and the World Championship next year, and the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. Her failure to win the Grand Prix Final three years in a row is only the beginning of a new journey ahead of her. And from it, she says, she learned a valuable lesson in how to compete under intense pressure.

The rivalry with Mao Asada of Japan is another spur to morale. Until the Grand Prix Final, they had been tied like twins with two losses each in a total of four competitions since they started competing together in the senior circuit. But with this year’s Grand Prix, Asada now has an edge: her triple axel, which had only 50 a percent success rate before the season, is now Asada’s stock-in-trade, and Kim now has to come up with another strategy to overcome the challenge.

The dream score of 200 is yet to be broken. Kim and Asada are the only ones who ever came close to the standard.

“I still have the Four Continents and the World Championship coming up,” says Kim. “I want to be well rested and stay in a good form until then. I want to end this season in good shape without making mistakes.”

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