Go to contents

An Exclusive Interview With Kim Yu-na

Posted October. 27, 2008 01:06,   


Kim Yu-na’s short program performance was magnificent. Skating to the rhythms of El Tango de Roxanne, from the soundtrack of the motion picture Moulin Rouge, she was a perfect reincarnation of the Spanish dancer. It was an act so hot that one could have been surprised that the ice didn’t melt.

In terms of technique, it was perfect, and in terms of aesthetic quality, even more so. The entire audience was stunned and so were the people around the world. Philip Hersh, a Los Angeles Times reporter, wrote, “It was only 2 minutes and 45-seconds, but it was breathtaking.”

The young skater herself also said that she was surprised. “Sometimes, when I skate, I feel myself totally immersed in the performance. Throughout the whole short program, it happened again.” She said that she didn’t even notice excitement of the spectators fervently applauding. It was, so to speak, a state of ecstasy in which she lost herself.

Pundits regard her more as an artist than a technician. Kim also said, “Figure skating is closer to art.” Her artistic qualities are half innate and half acquired. Her ex-coach Kim Se-yeol was the first to unlock the aesthetic potential inside her. Then it was Canadian choreographer David Wilson who amplified it.

Art, however, needs to be backed up with good stamina. It was a little too harsh to expect in her free skate the same perfection as in her short program, considering that she has been suffering from injury for the whole season.

“I should have taken care of my stamina in the summer, but I couldn’t. When I took care of one part, another began to ache. When the other was taken care of, another problem happened… In my training session in Canada, I concentrated most on building up my endurance, but then my tailbone started to hurt only two days ahead of my departure to Tokyo. I couldn’t even walk or sit, and my stamina crumbled. It was really a hard time for me.”

Kim said that she had been anxious before the free skate performance, as she felt heavy while warming up. She fell down twice on the ice, losing at least ten points. Her final score was 186.14, which means that she could have won against both Ando and Asada, who scored 195.09 and 194.45 respectively, if it were not for the mistakes.

Asked about how she feels about the final results, she said, “It could be rather good for me. If I top the senior standings in my first season, I’ll only be nervous to defend my position. I still have lots of chances. I prefer to be a challenger.”

It wasn’t really understandable. She is known to be a perfectionist. Her coach Brian Orser once said, “She is so enthusiastic when it comes to practicing, that I have to ask her to stop. She just can’t get enough.”

While agreeing that she strongly pursues excellence, Kim said, “As for me, I figure skate not to conquer others, but myself. What is most important to me is that I reach a level with which I can be satisfied.” After some exhibition performances with other championship medallists starting March 27 in the Japanese cities of Nagoya, Osaka, and Sapporo, Kim will fly back on April 1.