|Korea’s Kim Yu-na waves to her supporters at Incheon International Airport on Wednesday. (Yonhap)|
Korea’s reigning Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na brushed off the threat to her title from teenage Russian prodigy Julia Lipnitskaia as she left Seoul Wednesday for the 2014 Games.
The 15-year-old Lipnitskaia became the youngest female figure skater in 78 years to win a gold medal after helping the Olympic host nation seal the inaugural team title in Sochi.
Now she has her eyes set firmly on preventing Kim becoming only the third women ever to win back-to-back figure skating golds.
Speaking to reporters before boarding her flight to Sochi, Kim said Lipnitskaia would be buoyed by home support.
“But it doesn’t help me to pay too much attention to how others perform. What’s most important is getting the scores I have targeted,” the 23-year-old said.
“Unlike (Lipnitskaia), this is my last Olympics so it’s different for me,” she added.
Kim’s other main challenger in the individual event will be Japan’s Mao Asada ― a silver medalist at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
Kim has said that she would retire after the 2014 Winter Olympics and seek to become a member of the International Olympic Committee. (AFP)