Kim Yu-na battles nerves to take figure skating lead

By 신용배
  • Published : Feb 20, 2014 - 08:54
  • Updated : Feb 20, 2014 - 09:06

Kim Yu-na reacts after seeing the result of her performance at the short program in the ladies'
singles competition with 74.92 points in Sochi on Thursday. (Yonhap)
Though her otherworldly performances may suggest otherwise, South Korean figure skater Kim Yu-na said Wednesday she is still human.

Kim took the lead after the short program in the ladies' singles competition with 74.92 points, the highest score by a female skater this season, and the fifth-highest mark of Kim's career.

The 23-year-old looked as poised and collected as ever, and the skater called "Queen Yu-na" appeared set for another Olympic coronation.

Nevertheless, Kim later admitted to having butterflies in her stomach before her turn.

"I was a complete wreck after the warm-up," she said. "I feel nervous just like everyone else. I may not show it all the time, but I do get nervous."

She went as far as calling it her "worst short program ever," but it was closer to being one of the best in her illustrious career.

As usual, Kim started her short program with a perfect triple lutz-triple toe loop combination. Kim later said nailing the two jumps helped her relax during the rest of her routine, and it showed, as she went on to execute textbook jumps and elegant steps and spins.

Kim leads Adelina Sotnikova of Russia by just 0.28 point, which could mean more anxious moments for the South Korean.

"I am worried that I may get nervous all over again (on Thursday)," Kim said. "I gave my best today. So I am not going to get caught up in the past and will stay concentrated on the task at hand tomorrow."

Two other South Koreans performed the short program on Wednesday. Kim Hae-jin scored 54.37 points to rank 18th and Park So-youn had 46.19 points for 23rd place. Both have qualified for Thursday's free skating, open to only the top 24 skaters after the short program.

The ladies' figure skating was clearly the marquee event, but there were other South Koreans in action in Sochi on Wednesday.

In the women's bobsled, the tandem of Kim Sun-ok and Shin Mi-hwa finished in 18th place, second from the bottom, with a time of 4:00.81 after four races.

They had been the last among 19 teams after the first two races held on Tuesday. The South Koreans moved up to 18th after the third race, and then finished there after the fourth and the final run.

In the men's giant slalom in alpine skiing, Jung Dong-hyun finished 41st in the men's giant slalom and his teammate Kyung Sung-hyun ended in 66th place.

In the men's parallel giant slalom in snowboarding, Kim Sang-kyum ranked 17th and Shin Bong-shik finished in 26th. Both made South Korea's first Olympic appearance in the event. (Yonhap)