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Kim tells reporters: 'I can deliver perfection again'

Olympic champion confident in practice, mixed zone

Yu-Na Kim believes she can still deliver the kind of results that are expected of her.
Yu-Na Kim believes she can still deliver the kind of results that are expected of her. (Lynn Rutherford)

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By Lynn Rutherford, special to icenetwork.com
(03/13/2013) - In a pair of practices held at opposite ends of the day Tuesday at the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships, Yu-Na Kim served yet more notice to her competition: She is back, and she intends to win.

In the morning, the Olympic champion delivered a near flawless run-through of her free skate to music from Les Miserables; later that evening, she took the ice again for an impressive showing of her short program to The Kiss of the Vampire. Her triple Lutz-triple toe combination was high and reliable as ever, and she delivered David Wilson's choreography -- particularly the complex and dramatic step sequence in her short program -- with well-trained ease. Whether she can recapture the spark and dynamism of her performances at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games will have to wait until show time. She takes the ice Thursday for her short.

Korea's star earned her way to London, Ontario, by competing at the NRW Trophy in Dortmund, Germany, in December, winning the event with technical element scores far higher than the ISU minimums set for worlds entrants. Her most recent major international competition was the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships in Moscow, where she placed second to Japan's Miki Ando. Last fall, she announced she had reunited with two of her childhood coaches, Jonghyeon Ryu and Hyesook Shin, and was training in Korea for a return to competition, with an eye on these world championships and the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

With hordes of her home country's reporters present, as well as others clamoring for information, Kim's team has understandably kept a tight rein on the star in London. Thus far, she has granted just one brief mixed zone interview for reporters here, after Tuesday night's practice.

How do you feel in practice here?

Not bad right now. I am still getting used to the time [difference]. The most crucial thing will be how I feel on the day of the competition.

Are you nervous to take part in the world championships again?

After I decided to compete again, I was quite nervous to come back to the ice. When I decided to do the two competitions before worlds (the NRW Trophy and the Korean championships), I did pretty well. This time around, I think I am still pretty nervous, but I am sure I can get good results.

Did you miss skating, once you had achieved your goal?

Like any other Olympic champion, I did feel some emptiness in my heart [after I stopped competing]. I am making this comeback to the ice after a long time because skating is what I am best at and what I love the most. I want to give it one more try.

The rink here is NHL-sized, which is smaller than the Olympic-sized rinks. Is this affecting you?

I did practice on a smaller-scale rink the last week [before arriving in London]. I have skated on NHL-sized rinks, including at the Vancouver Olympics, so based on this experience, I am able to deliver my programs on a smaller surface. I am sure it will be OK.

Having already won the Olympic title in 2010, do you feel less pressure returning to compete at the Olympics again next season?

I did decide to come back to the ice and not put as much pressure [on myself]. I do feel better. I don't want to be pressured as much as I was at the previous Olympics. However, because I am human, I also want to be good; I want results. I still hear the comparisons in the media with myself and [Olympic silver medalist] Mao Asada. So [the pressure] is still there, but I try not to feel it as much.

You were near-perfect in Vancouver in 2010. Can you duplicate those performances?

The 2010 Olympics was the first competition ever where I competed my short program and free skate with no mistakes. That in itself is a huge accomplishment. Delivering a clean program requires a lot of practice, but I truly believe if I practice a lot, I can deliver perfection again.