Kim wins women's title at first figure skating world champs in two years
By Nancy Armour ,APLONDON, Ontario -- The Queen has her title back.
March 18, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
And another Olympic gold medal might not be far behind.
Back at the World Figure Skating Championships after a two-year absence, Kim Yu-na looked as if she'd never been away Saturday night.
The effortless jumps, the spellbinding expression, the lopsided victories, even the crowds of fans gathering at the arena exit in hopes of catching a glimpse of her, it was as if the clock had been turned back to 2010.
“This (world) championships could be my last one,” Kim said through an interpreter. “But I won, so I'm very happy.”
She isn't the only one. The audience was on its feet long before she finished her final spin, and cheers erupted when her scores were posted.
She may not have set records as she did in Vancouver, but with a score of 218.31, she was a whopping 20 points ahead of defending champion Carolina Kostner.
Longtime rival Mao Asada moved up to third, her first medal at worlds since she won her second title two years ago.
“I did my best, so I knew my score was going to be good,” Kim said. “But didn't think it was going to be that high.”
Earlier Saturday, Meryl Davis and Charlie White won their second ice dance title in three seasons.
The U.S. women didn't win any medals. But they got the next-best thing, reclaiming a third spot for the Sochi Olympics. They needed to finish with a combined placement of 13, and Ashley Wagner was fifth and Gracie Gold sixth.
“We got three spots back and we came here to do that,” Wagner said. “Mission accomplished.”
No female skater has had a run quite like Kim from 2009 through the Vancouver Olympics. She won all but one competition, usually in breathtaking fashion. And she did it while carrying the hopes of an entire nation, too.
South Korea had never won an Olympic medal, let alone gold, in a sport other than speedskating at the Winter Games, and “Queen Yu-na” was treated like royalty.
But she handled the expectations flawlessly, coming as close to perfection in Vancouver as anyone ever has.
Not only do the records she set in the short program, free skate and overall score still stand, no one's even come close to them.
While most Olympic champions make a quick exit, Kim stuck around, finishing second at the next two world championships. But she stepped away following the 2011 world championships.
After spending most of the previous five years in Toronto and Los Angeles, she returned home. She skated in shows and helped Pyeongchang in its winning bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics. While she didn't rule out Sochi, it didn't seem likely, either.
Then, last summer, she announced her return.