winter olympics

Inside the Rings: Kim Yu-na, licensed to thrill

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Not really a skating fan, but both of them were outstanding! It seemed that Asada was more presentable, however the triples that Kim did, beat her out.

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I thought they were both very very good, but seemed like Kim got more points than expected, even if higher than Asada. Still the two are obviously top of the class and you still can't tell how the medals will go. Remember the last Olympics with the top two falling down?

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Yes, both were good except that Asada was skating with runny nose !

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One thing that sets Kim apart is that, she naturally enjoys the game no matter the pressure. Confidence is the secret.

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She was Pussy Galore, Jinx, Honey Ryder and all of the other Bond Girls rolled into one.

Ahhh, finally a reason to name drop Pussy Galore in an article :-p.

Saw the replay and I loved Kim Yu-Na's skate. It was like she was a silhouette in a Bond title sequence. Next she needs to skate to "Nobody Does it Better" by Carly Simon, it would be incredible.

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"78.5 points"

Why not just give her 100 points?

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Agree with McC72, she skated like it was for fun, no pressure, but with Asada you could see she was really nervous. 78 vs 73, I think Yuna will easily grab gold

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What? No mention of Joannie Rochette, the 3rd place Canadian who was skating 2 days after he mother died of a heart attack?

http://www.cnn.com/2010/SPORT/02/24/olympics.rochette/index.html

What's up with that, eh?

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She's awesome and I love her performance.

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She is so great. I'm not really digging either of the top Japanese female skaters this run. All of them are talented, but Kim always looks really into it. So does Akiko Suzuki, but I never hear anything about her, not even from my Japanese co-workers! She, like Kim, looks like she wants to skate and is into it, unlike the other two girls in my opinion.

Rochette was stellar. I was really impressed by her performance and her WILL to perform after such a tragedy. Good on her.

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@chuckers- You are completely right. Her performance was awesome as well. I couldn't stop from getting teary eyed when I saw her perfomance. Truely an exceptional display of Olympic Spirit!

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I don.t know much about iceskating but it was an entertaining performance,and she,s a babe as well......

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And tell me she won't be a real bond girl one day after that!!!! Sensational.

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She was Pussy Galore

are you allowed to print this?

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Papigiulio: "Agree with McC72, she skated like it was for fun, no pressure, but with Asada you could see she was really nervous. 78 vs 73, I think Yuna will easily grab gold"

That's EXACTLY what I said a couple of days back that it would be like -- enormous pressure on the Japanese athletes to topple Kim, while Kim really doesn't have the same kind of pressure. Sure, she has all of South Korea playing her up as badly as the J-media does its ladies, and she has the pressure of winning the gold to vindicate Brian Orser, but still, she skates like she can take it all and then some and put it TOWARDS her performance instead of having it work against her. With Asada, while she did perfectly this time, more or less, you can see and feel the tension.

Going to be fun to hear about tomorrow's results.

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@ratpak,

That's exactly what I said yesterday:

techall at 10:29 PM JST - 24th February

Whoever came up with the Bond Girl theme for Kim's routine is a genius. I can actually see her becoming a Bond Girl in a movie someday, she has the looks, she's athletic, she speaks english, she obvoiusly does not get stage freight...a few acting lessons and.....why not?

Glad you agree.

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i agree with chuckers. no mention of the canadian skater. a very dramatic story. there are more than two skaters in this competition. and it is not over yet. anything can happen.

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besides....Kim is Canadian. Lives in Toronto since 2007. All her training in at a rink in Toronto. Coach is former Canadian medallist Brian Orser.

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I watched Mao and thought, "This is going to hard to beat". Well Kim made it look easy. Kim knows she will win - Mao only hopes she will win.

A shame JT had to put the throwaway line about the nationalism at the end.

Moderator: We didn't. It is an AP story.

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One other thing I noticed - Japanese TV wrote Mirai Nagasu's name in Kanji. Seeing she is an American, I thought they would use Katakana. I assumed Kanji was reserved for Chinese or Japanese names only. Am I reading too much into it?

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Have to say that the photos I saw of her before the competition showed an immature young girl, and I was stunned to see that she's a knockout now. NBC America showed a montage of Korean print ads and TV commercials with her singing and dancing. Now that she speaks english she could also have a career in the West after skating ends.

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I don't know why everyone thinks Kim is a lock?

Mao skated her best ever short program which she usually chokes on. Even when Mao defeated Yuna in the past, she always struggle on the short and then go all out on the free. 4 points is nothing compared to the 10+ she usually falls behind Yuna. So this is nothing new to Mao.

I'd be happy if either wins. I thought that Canadian got a generous score, because Mao and Yuna skated far better than her and she is only 2 points behind Mao and 7 behind Yuna??

I haven't seen figure skating this exciting ever. 2 of the best Yuna and Mao skating their best short program in the Olympics. I hope they both skate their best in the free.

It would be cool if they compete in 2014.

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DentShop > I read this in Washington Post so yes, this is an AP.

I also read in a different article that Kim said on an interview that she didn't even felt pressured nor felt nervous. She added that it didn't felt like Olympics at all and that its just like other competitions she participated previously. The article also mentioned that S.Korea looks her up as a national hero.

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Asada delivered her 73.78 points like a challenge—hey, beat this.

No she didn't. She skated her best and with grace. The only arrogance seems to be on the writer's part. Both Asada and Kim were great and either could take gold because they're both winners.

Kim is Canadian. Lives in Toronto since 2007

I guess that makes me Mexican cause I lived there for three years, too. But if you're just bragging about the superior coaching skills, that makes Asada Russian.

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zenzen: "Kim is Canadian. Lives in Toronto since 2007"

Yeah... hang on a minute while I get my Japanese passport out. haha.

borscht: "No she didn't. She skated her best and with grace. The only arrogance seems to be on the writer's part. Both Asada and Kim were great and either could take gold because they're both winners."

Very good comment. I agree wholeheartedly. I do of course think the score is a challege compared with the usual difference in score, but that's no punctuation mark on how Asada performed, it's just a fact and the nature of the competition.

MadokaKato: "I'd be happy if either wins. I thought that Canadian got a generous score, because Mao and Yuna skated far better than her and she is only 2 points behind Mao and 7 behind Yuna??"

I'm glad you'll be happy if either wins, but don't you think you're being a little 'generous' with all the "generous" comments? Yesterday you claimed the judges were being generous with Kim's score, and today it's the Canadian's, so only Mao deserved what she got??

I do agree with you that it's still anyone's game, and Mao has a VERY good chance because the short program, as you said, is usually her stumbling block. I think a lot of people consider Kim a lock simply because she's won so many recent competitions, and she proved in the short program that she can hold that lead. Doesn't mean she will tomorrow, but with her confidence as opposed to Mao's confessed nervousness ("my legs were shaking when I did the triple axle", etc.) she seems to be much more natural on the ice. The fluidity of her performance hasn't escaped anyone's, nor has Mao's mastering of the short program (that is to say, mastering her own performance). It's going to be fun.

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besides....Kim is Canadian. Lives in Toronto since 2007.

haha... you wish.

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I did not claim yesterday that Kim got a generous score. I said that Kim skated better, but not by 4+ points.

The Canadian got a very generous score, because her elements weren't as difficult as Mao or Yuna and she is only 2 points behind Mao?? If Mao fell, then I understand, but she didn't.

Of course Kim is more confident than Mao. Kim was winning all the competition last year while Mao was struggling. Mao was also injured so she was unable to land her triple axel. It didn't help when Kim decided to pull out of the final contest before the Olympics which Mao won, but I thought it was a great move for Kim. Why help Mao gain her confidence before the Olympics or take a chance getting injured?

I can care less about the Canadian skater. As long as either Kim or Mao wins the gold, that's fine with me.

Saying Kim is a Canadian is an insult. I'd be offended being called a Canadian.

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Madoka: Oops! My bad. You DID use generous yesterday, but in reference to the Canadian, as you did today ("Yeah Yuna and Mao pretty much separated themselves from the rest of the pack, but I thought that Canadian got a very generous score, because she didn't skate nearly as good as Yuna or Mao."). At least you're consistent. :)

"Saying Kim is a Canadian is an insult. I'd be offended being called a Canadian."

I never said she was Canadian, a poster above (zenzen) did. I was being sarcastic and saying that if she can be considered Canadian simply for having lived there for three years, study, and have a Canadian coach, then anyone who lives anywhere else and has a boss who is a natural of that country can say they have that nationality as well. Hence Borscht said he's Mexican and I said I'm Japanese. Regardless, I'm hoping that you mean that you would be insulted only because someone else is inferring you are something that you are not, and not because you hate Canada and Canadians or something (no room for such bigotry on here).

"I can care less about the Canadian skater."

Everyone's entitled to their own opinion, but the third place winner should be acknowledged as there are more than two people in the competition.

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Kim got the score and she deserved it. She skated with confidence and beauty, but it's the short program. Mao did far better than anyone expected, because the short program is not her strength. When Mao beats Kim, she usually falls behind Kim by 10 or more points after the short program before going all out on free. So 4 points is not that bad, especially since Mao skated her best short program ever.

Yuna and Mao both did the right thing by NOT training in their homeland. That was Midori Ito's mistake, because a country like Korea and Japan where space is limited. They can't walk around without being recognized.

I can't imagine if Yuna trained in Korea. Her life would be in ruins, because no one would leave her alone or give her any privacy for such a young age. Canada is a perfect place to train. The population of Canada is far less than the city of Tokyo, plus it's bigger than the U.S. in land mass.

Mao is trained in either Russia or the U.S., which is far better than being trained in Japan. She would have suffered the same way as Midori Ito did if she was trained in Japan.

We have to savor this moment, because we will probably never see a figure skating matchup this exciting and a battle between Japan & Korea.

I think the pressure is more on Yuna Kim since Korea has never won a figure skating medal. Japan did, with that fluke victory by Shizuka Arakawa in 2006.

I remember Midori Ito suffering in 92, because the Japanese media just wouldn't leave her alone. Plus she got a bit chunky in the Olympics and unable to land her triple axel.

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By the way, I was joking about Canada..

I don't care who said about Yuna Kim being a Canadian.

Canadians are just fun to make fun of that's all.

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You know what I think? Whatever pressure there is, I don't think Yuna Kim cares a tuppance about it. The difference between her and Mao is that Kim looks to be enjoying herself far more than Mao. I believe that to Kim, a loss in the olympics is just that: a loss. so what if the endorsements don't come through? so what if she loses millions? I believe her attitude is (and has been) that all of the money, endorsements, and frills are just icing on the cake of having fun while skating. No surprise that Biran Boitano is her coach because Boitano had this same attitude when he competed.

If pressure is on anyone, it is Mao, and the sad thing is, Miss asada has been pushed to hard into maturity by her trainers and handlers. Kim has been allowed to mautre with grace and naturally. The prof will be n the pudding n the Free Skate, but I perosnally believe that Kim is going to win it, and all the pressure and other rubbish about the weight of her country being on her shoulders won't matter one bit...

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Blue Tiger, it's Brian Orser not Boitano who coached Yuna Kim.

Orser was in the losing end of the battle of the Brians.

Of course Kim looks to be enjoying herself in the short program. Why wouldn't Mao be stressed about the short program when this is usually her weakness. She always started off slow in her short and usually falling 10 points behind Yuna. If Mao lands her 2 triple axels, it is hers to lose. She beat Yuna before so it's not impossible for Mao to pull it off.

Plus Mao was the one struggling last year and it didn't help when she was injured and unable to land her triple axel.

Mao can do something which Yuna can't and it would be a good idea to put 2 triple axels in her free program, because that is the only way she could beat Yuna unless Yuna fall.

The pressure is on both of them. Perhaps more on Yuna, because South Korea has never won a medal in this event. SO don't give me this BS that there is no pressure on Yuna.

I'd be happy if either wins.

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Everyone's entitled to their own opinion, but the third place winner should be acknowledged as there are more than two people in the competition.

That is true, smithinjapan. Then why on the official Vancouver Olympic website, does the headline read, "Figure Skating: 'Bond girl' Kim ahead, Rochette third". Where is Mao Asada's name? It's as if there is no second place to them.

http://www.vancouver2010.com/olympic-news/n/news/afp-news/figure-skating--bond-girl-kim-ahead--rochette-third_291260NE.html

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MadokaKato - Having watched her skate over the last year-and-a-half, there is a definite difference between Yuna and Mao. I don't see any pressure on Kim, much in the same way Katarina Witt didn't have any pressure on her in 88 when she crushed Debi Thomas. A lot of people said Witt had all of this pressure on her because she had won the gold in Sarejevo in84, but I didn't see any of it then, just as I don't see it now with Yuna. Apparently, Yuna doesn't seem to feel it or is shrugging it off (which I believe that she is), just as Witt didn't in both 84 and88. Debi Thomas, however, was so tight and twined that it affectedh er skating, as she not only lost the gold to Witt in `88, but also the silver to Canada's skater at that time. If anyone is under pressure, it is Mao. Expectations for her are EXTREMELY high for her here in Japan to repeat and defend "Japan's" Gold Medal in Women's figure skating. Call it BS if you wish, Madokakato, but the turth is, there is a chasm of difference between Kim and Asada, and right now, Kim seems to be having a LOT more fun than Mao, is relaxed, and basically is in position to win the gold.

As you said, I'll be happy if either of them wins. In my opinion, Arakawa became an Ice Queen after she won in `06, with her attitude being even more uppity than before. With Kim, Asada, and even Ando, I don't see such an attitude developing....

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It's funny you mentioned 1988, since none of them were even born.

When Shizuka Arakawa won the gold in 2006, I thought it was a joke. She wasn't the best skater in Japan, because the IOC have that stupid 16 and under rule which Mao Asada did not qualify even though she was the #1 skater in the world.

4 points is not a big margin. Mao looked comfortable after she landed her triple axel. Who wouldn't be nervous? How many female skaters can do a triple axel? Yuna is not one of them.

All Mao has to do is land her 2 triple axel and it is her gold to lose. Depending on how the judges credit more on the elements or the artistic beauty. Since I'm not the judge, I can't say.

Mao always struggled in her short program so just finishing and landing her triple axel without making any mistake is exceeding far better than what she expected, because she usually falls 10 points behind Yuna. If she lands her 2 triple axels, she is capable of defeating Yuna.

I think Shizuka Arakawa gold medal is a joke. I can care less about it, but since her medal is Japan's only medal during that Olympics yeah she is considered the Ice Queen, but she wasn't even the best skater in Japan.

Oh yeah, when was the last time when a gold medalist had a lead in the short program?? 1992?

What did Michelle Kwan and Sasha Cohen had in common? They both had the lead in the short program and did not win the gold. This can not happen to Yuna Kim?

I hope both Yuna and Mao skate their best without falling. I'm pretty sure if both skate perfectly, the battle between Mao and Yuna will be talked about for the next 20-30 years.

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I think Mao has more pressure on her because she had to land two tripple axels during her free skate routine. It is easier to skate without the burden that you have to perform two triple axels in one program, same as men do.

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LoveUSA,

That's what makes the free skate more exciting.

If Mao lands on her 2 triple axels, I think the gold is hers to lose. Depending on how the judging works, if Mao and Yuna both skate a mistake free program, technically Mao can recover the 4-5 points, because she is skating far more difficult program.

It would be very heart-breaking if either lose by skating their best program mistake free. Unfortunately, both can not win the gold together unless some fluke happens.

I will be heart-broken tomorrow, because one of them will lose.

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Both of them are great skaters,Yunas strenght is SP she did more then you will expect but the fact is she havent done her best in any free program yet unlike Mao who's always mistakes on SP but..she usually performed a clean free program..soo i cant really wait who will win the gold...For me Mao is like a sweet little girl compared to Yuna who looked like more matured,sexy and elegant..but Mao is Mao though most of people dont like her style..dress..music..etc..she still goes on her own way...

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added to my comments..please watch this.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdZ3Hj82ssw

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I think there are a lot of comments here that should be put on their own resumes for wannabe sports writers. The girls were brilliant. Let's see what happens.

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I most definitely will not put these comments on my resume. What you see and what you get. You see a more mature and sexy skater. I see less pure individuality and better acting. Somehow skating is not only about what you see, well, maybe for you. Not for me. I grew up on a lake. Skated on frozen water for the first time when I was four years old. Skating is more about what you feel, yes, for those of you who seem not to know, don't remember and just don't care. If you felt more from Ms. Kims wonderful performance then go watch the next Bond flick. It will be filled with fanciful imagery, glitter and stereotypical appeal. Asada's performance had much more genuine content but let us skate for judges, remain in character like our coach tells us and give someone a chance to remember Pussy Galore because that is what gold medals and Olympic competitions are solely about.

I wonder how many people could actually appreciate from a sensory level not confined exclusively to visual a performance as timeless as the young miss Asadas in the short program. I am old enough to know there aren't enough.

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kavikahi, Excellent post and interesting take. I also have to admit that watching Kim Yu Na and Mao Asada skate, and comparing them is comparable to watching as if Beyonce and a younger Audrey Hepburn performed on ice. One would be doing the more sexier number (sleek, revved up going 100 mph like a big budget Hollywood action flick), while the other would be a daintier number (like a timeless black and white movie circa 1955). Mao Asada kind of reminds me of Dorothy Hamill (yes, I'm old enough to remember her).

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Hotbox08,

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but figure skating experts seem to categorize Yuna's style as "classic elegance" and Mao's as "athleticism", in line with comments made by NBC commentators.

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/olympics/vancouver/figureskating/2010-02-24-tale-of-the-tape_N.htm

That's how I felt after watching last night's long program, too. I may not have as many years of watching figure skating under my belt as you, but I do have quite a few, and I thought Yuna's performance of last night was really classic, reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn to borrow your phrase.

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