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Kim Yu-na Set to Dominate Figure Skating World

Posted November. 17, 2008 03:15,   


Figure skating star Kim Yu-na is well on her way to dominating her sport, leaving her rivals in the dust.

The 18-year-old won the first and third events of this season’s Grand Prix of Figure Skating with scores exceeding 190 points. When she beat her challengers by more than 20 points in both events, only top-ranked Mao Asada, the defending world champion, was thought to be Kim’s match.

Surprisingly, however, Asada disappointed fans in her first performance of the season, finishing second in the season’s fourth competition in Paris yesterday.

After struggling with jumping errors last season, Asada prepared for this year’s events by training under Russian icon Tatiana Tarasova, who has produced the most world and Olympic champions by any coach.

Tarasova’s guidance, however, did not translate into a stellar performance for Asada. The Japanese skater received a disappointing 58.12 points in the short program and a mere 109.47 in free skating. She earned additional points for only three of seven jumps after falling once.

Her final score of 167.59 was far behind that of Joannie Rochette of Canada, who got 180.73.

Asada will have a second chance at redemption in the season’s sixth event, the NHK Trophy, in Tokyo beginning Nov. 27.

Back in Korea, rising figure skating star Kim Na-young, who is second only to Kim Yu-na in the country, will compete in the Cup of Russia, the season’s fifth event.

The Korea Skating Union said Saturday, “Though Kim was originally invited to the sixth event only, she was able to enter the fifth event as well thanks to the cancellation of two previous entries.”

Two contestants had to drop out due to injury, so the Cup of Russia organizing committee and the International Skating Union chose Kim Na-young and Alissa Czisny of the United States as replacements.

The Korean union also denied a rumor that Kim Na-young got to enter thanks to help from her fans. The rumor had it that when fans found out about the two cancellations, they asked the Korean union to have Kim Na-young as one of the replacements.

When the Korean union showed a lukewarm response, her fans allegedly made a direct request to the organizing committee and the international union, resulting in Kim Na-young receiving the invitation.

The Korean union said, “Skaters can participate in the series only by invitation, not by application. The organizing committee and the ISU had already decided to invite Kim (Na-young) before the rumor broke out.”