Figure skater Kim Yu-na feels Sochi ice conditions 'better than expected'

By 송상호
  • Published : Feb 16, 2014 - 22:19
  • Updated : Feb 17, 2014 - 10:25
Following her first practice on Sunday at the venue for the figure skating competition at the Sochi Winter Games, South Korean star Kim Yu-na said ice conditions there shouldn't present problems.

Kim skated for the first time at Iceberg Skating Palace, where she will try to defend her gold medal in the ladies' singles. The short program is scheduled for Wednesday, and the free skating will follow the next day.

Kim arrived in Sochi last Thursday and trained for two days at a practice rink before resting on Saturday.

After her 40 minutes of the mostly smooth practice on Sunday, Kim told reporters that she wasn't concerned about the same ice that appeared to give male figure skaters fits earlier.

"I think the ice here is better than I expected," Kim said. "I watched the men's singles competition and there were a lot of mistakes. I don't know if they were necessarily due to the ice."

Iceberg Skating Palace hosts both short track speed skating and figure skating. The men's free skating took place on Friday, a day after several short track races were held, and even the medal winners failed to put together clean programs.

While poor ice conditions have been blamed for sloppy skating, Kim said she won't be affected by the surface too much.

"I have competed in many different rinks, and I don't really see anything peculiar about this place," she said. "Since this was my first time here, I just tried to get myself accustomed to the surroundings."

After spending her Saturday cheering on South Korean short track speed skaters, Kim looked refreshed. She spent most of her session fine-tuning her triple lutz jump, the opening element in her triple-triple jump combination in both her short program and free skate.

Kim is scheduled to return to Iceberg Skating Palace for practice on Tuesday.

The two-time world champ is trying to become only the third figure skater to win consecutive Olympic gold medals in the ladies' singles. She has already declared Sochi will be her last Olympics.

In Vancouver, Kim won the gold with 228.56 points, the highest ever in the ladies' singles under the revamped judging system. (Yonhap)