South Korean Figure Skater, Yu-Na Kim, Wins Gold!
She did it! South Korean figure skater Yu-Na Kim had the weight of an entire nation on her shoulders tonight as she skated in the final of the Winter Olympics.
When it came her turn to take the ice, she performed like a diamond under pressure and won the first ever figure skating medal for South Korea. And she did it with a record-breaking score of 150.06 for the free style (long) program, giving her a total score of 228.56. (This was after scoring a record-breaking 78.50 points in the short program on Tuesday night.)
Wearing a bright, royal blue halter dress trimmed with sparkling rhinestones and a glittering crystal collar, Yu-Na seemed composed as she readied herself; the only sign of nerves showing when she quickly crossed herself before skating onto the ice to begin her performance. “My heart just beat a little faster,” confessed NBC commentator, Scott Hamilton. “This has been so anticipated.”
As piano music began tinkling over the speakers, Yu-Na began to skate — twirling, jumping and gliding to Concerto in F by George Gershwin. “Oh my goodness, this is glorious,” the female NBC commentator exclaimed as Yu-Na neared the end of her routine. “It’s one of the greatest Olympic performances I have ever seen!”
Seconds after striking her final pose, Yu-Na’s face briefly crumpled as she became overwhelmed with emotion, her eyes filling with tears. She had given a flawless performance; a gold medal worthy performance. But would her main rival, the Japanese skater, Mao Asada — skating next — overtake her for the gold?
No. Though Mao landed both her Triple Axels — the first woman to land three during Olympic competition — it would not be enough to best Yu-Na. Mao made several small, but costly, errors during her routine. As Mao continued to skate — knowing that she had probably lost the gold medal — the music she had chosen, a dark, dramatic piece of classical music filled with thundering, deep notes, seemed only to dramatize the Japanese skater’s downfall.
Final results: Yu-Na won gold, and she did it by blistering the competition. Mao won silver, more than 20 points behind Yu-Na. Canadian skater, Joannie Rochette, whose mother suddenly died of a massive heart attack two days before the figure skating competition, won bronze.
On the podium, it was the South Korean flag that was raised the highest. And as the Korean national anthem played, Yu-Na mouthed the words to the song, keeping her composure. But it became too much for the 19-year-old Korean skater. Her eyes welled up and tears streamed down her face. She wept. She wept for a job well done, for making her country proud, and because it was finally all over and she had won. Gold.