Posted December. 29, 2010 11:13,
Womens figure skating has long been a rivalry between two competitors, but Kim Yu-na broke that trend two years ago by becoming the undisputed queen of the sport.
With the World Figure Skating Championship to start on March 3 in Tokyo, Kims competitors are preparing to end her stranglehold on the worlds top ranking.
○ Kim Yu-na vs. other skaters
In the early 2000s, Michelle Kwan of the U.S. and Irina Slutskaya of Russia were the main contestants to the figure skating throne. Following a short absence of strong talent, another rivalry appeared between Kim and Mao Asada of Japan.
The Kim-Asada duel did not last long, however. After winning the world championship in the 2008-09 season, Kim won the gold medal at the Vancouver Winter Olympics this year in record fashion. Asada was no longer Kims rival.
Next year, traditional figure skating powers including the U.S. and Japan are expected to work hard to end Kims dominance on ice.
A Japanese TV program recently filmed Kims training in secret. A figure skating source said, Many foreign figures in figure skating are questioning Kims condition and training. Female skaters who won tournaments in this seasons Grand Prix due to Kims absence are determined to win next years world championship.
○ New program under wraps
Because Kim snubbed this years Grand Prix, her new program remains a secret. How well she does with her new coach Peter Oppegard after parting with Brian Orser is one major variable, but she will likely remain No. 1 even if she operates at 80 percent of capacity.
This seasons Grand Prix series and final also showed the relative sluggishness of skaters. Alissa Czisny of the U.S., who won the Grand Prix final, was the lone competitor to exceed 180 points. Kim has scored more than 180 points in all world championship events.
Carolina Kostner of Italy and Miki Ando of Japan scored below 180 points. Joannie Rochette of Canada, who won the bronze in Vancouver, did not perform this season but is behind Kim.
Meanwhile, Kim was named Female Athlete of the Year by the United States Sports Academy Tuesday with Spanish soccer star David Villa taking the mens award. The two were selected through a worldwide ballot.