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[Exclusive] Kim Yu-na Says She Was `Born to Skate`

Posted October. 20, 2009 09:16,   


“I feel I’m most suited for figure skating.”

World figure skating champion Kim Yu-na seems to be reborn at every championship. The 19-year-old set a new women’s world record by exceeding 200 points (207.71) at the world championships in Los Angeles in March.

As if that was not enough, she broke her own record Saturday with 210.03 points in the first event of this season’s ISU Grand Prix at the Trophee Eric Bompard in Paris.

Her record-breaking performances seem to stem from her passion for figure skating. The Dong-A Ilbo sat down with Kim before she left for Toronto, Canada, at a corner of a media room instead of the official venue of her news conference at the Paris ice rink.

Dong-A: How do you feel now that the event is over?

Kim: I had a tough time preparing for this event in the past summer. I was confident that I’d do well but I was also concerned that since it was the first event of this season. I failed to attempt a triple flip jump in the free skate event. But I feel satisfied nonetheless. I set a new world record and it apparently was a good start.

Dong-A: You set a new world record in the Grand Prix season opener. Don’t you feel pressure in the remaining competitions?

Kim: I usually gain higher scores as the series comes to its conclusion, and I’ve obviously acquired a great score prematurely. I received a better score than I expected. I do feel burdened in the next event, but I think it’s important to perform what I want to show.

Dong-A: Do you regret the mistake you made in the competition?

Kim: I had a good record in this championship but I also realized what I need to improve on. Because I made mistakes, I’ve come to realize what I’m lacking. If I make a mistake performing at competitions, I try to forget about them as soon as possible. I try my best to correct my mistakes in training when I make one in a competition.

Dong-A: Have you ever received psychological treatment?

Kim: “No, never. I feel I was born for figure skating by nature. Perhaps thanks to my character, I tend not to remember a mistake I make.”

Dong-A: How do you control your mind ahead of a competition?

Kim: I feel nervous internally, but I try to wear a confident facial expression. I encourage myself by saying, “I’m ready already.” If I back off physically, I get more nervous and hence, I try to remain confident.

Dong-A: Rumor has it that you were distracted by sunflower seeds on the ice rink in your free skate performance.

Kim: I didn’t know what was on the floor. I had my skate blade caught in a small ice crack, and I lost balance and failed to jump.

Dong-A: You seem to have prepared carefully since your fingernails are colored black.

Kim: In the short program, I have many movements, including gun shooting. I manicured my fingernails in black to fit the mood, and people seem to like it. Even a trivial thing can change the mood of a program.

Dong-A: Will you continue to wear your short program attire?

Kim: It was not the design I originally thought of. We plan to prepare other types of attire because we’re preparing for next year’s Summer Olympics. I could improve the attire I wore in this championship, or use a new type.

Dong-A: What are your future plans?

Kim: Since I’m still not skilled enough in certain performances, I will carefully and gradually improve and prepare for the Olympics. Since I had a good start, I think I can have good performances in the next competitions. I think I’ll return to Korea after the Vancouver Olympics next year.