|Kim Yu-na returned to Korea on Monday after winning the Golden Spin of Zagreb in Croatia over the weekend. The Olympic champion tallied 204.49 points. (Yonhap News)|
INCHEON (Yonhap News) ― Fresh off a convincing victory in Croatia, South Korean figure skater Kim Yu-na vowed Monday to perform even better at the Winter Olympics in Russia in two months’ time.
Kim made a triumphant return home from Croatia, where she handily won the Golden Spin of Zagreb, her first event of the season. She was greeted by hundreds of fans at Incheon International Airport celebrating another victory by the reigning Olympic gold medalist and two-time world champion.
Kim scored 204.49 points in total, with 73.37 points in the short program and 131.12 points in the free skate. Kim defeated Miki Ando of Japan by more than 27 points. Kim’s short program score is the best by anyone this season.
Kim made rare mistakes on her jumps in both programs, slipping and touching the ice with her hand after landing the double axel ― typically the easiest jump element ― in the short program and falling to the ice on the first jump of her triple lutz-triple toe loop combination in the free skate.
Kim also said she needs to polish her spins and steps in the free skate, but despite these miscues, she said she was still buoyed by the win.
“Overall, I was satisfied with my performance,” she said. “I think I might have been feeling some pressure since this was the first competition of the season. I’d never fallen so badly in practices. But after those mistakes, I concentrated even harder so I wouldn’t make another the rest of the way.”
Kim missed two scheduled appearances during the International Skating Union Grand Prix season in October and November, after coming down with a foot injury in September. She committed to the Golden Spin, a minor event, last month to begin her Olympic title defense in earnest.
The 23-year-old has already said Sochi will be her last Winter Games. In the Russian resort town, she will attempt to become only the third woman to become a figure skating champion in consecutive Olympic Games.
“I am not yet 100 percent physically, but there is still plenty of time until the Olympics,” Kim said of the Feb. 7-23 event. “If I compete in one more event before Sochi, I think I should be able to put up a good result.”
Kim said she may enter the South Korean national championships from Jan. 3-5 as her final tune-up event before Sochi, though she fell short of fully committing to the competition. Kim said she will skip the Four Continents Championships from Jan. 20-26 in Taiwan, because the event is too close to the Olympics.