All hail Queen Yuna.
For the second straight Olympics, South Korea's Yuna Kim has reached the medal podium, earning a silver medal in the Sochi Games. Kim finished second to Adelina Sotnikova of Russia (via Ollie Williams of the BBC):
Stunning. Yuna Kim second. Gold for Russia. Aaaand roll the judging controversy. #bbcsochi— Ollie Williams (@OllieW) February 20, 2014
|2||Yuna Kim||South Korea||219.11|
|4||Gracie Gold||United States||205.53|
|7||Ashley Wagner||United States||193.20|
|9||Polina Edmunds||United States||183.25|
|10||Mae Berenice Meite||France||174.53|
After the Olympics, Christopher Clarey of The New York Times reported that Kim has made a decision on what her next move is now that the Sochi Olympics are over:
Kim Yu-na has announced her retirement from Olympic-eligible competition and will not take part in world championships reports @lequipe— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) February 20, 2014
It's hardly a surprise Kim reached the podium once again, as she was atop the standings after the short program with a score of 74.92, just edging out Russia's Adelina Sotnikova (74.64) and Italy's Carolina Kostner (74.12) on Wednesday.
After that performance, she told Nancy Armour of USA Today through an interpreter that she had to battle through nerves.
"I was really nervous when I was in the warm-up. I just said,`Let's believe in myself' and that's how I tried to relax. I'm satisfied that I did everything well without a mistake."
Once again, the Queen conquered her nerves.
Without question, Kim came into this contest under a mountain of scrutiny and expectation. Armour wrote on Tuesday about the enormous pressure Kim was under:
Few athletes have experienced anything like Kim did four years ago in Vancouver. Not only was she the reigning world champion, having won almost every competition she'd entered in the previous two years, but South Korea had never won a Winter Olympics medal of any color in a sport besides speed skating or short track.
She was dubbed "Queen Yuna," and had endorsement deals for everything from bread to refrigerators. She was so popular she needed bodyguards just to leave her childhood home whenever she returned from her training base in Toronto.
But much as she did four years ago, Kim shrugged off the pressure with grace and poise, earning a silver medal at these Games.
Kim's impact for South Korea seems to be just beginning. Though this will be her last competition, but she has been an ambassador both for her sport and for Korea's Olympic Committee, a role she could be asked to extend well beyond her skating career.
Regardless of what she does after her retirement from skating, she'll not only be remembered as one of the most dominant figure skaters of all time, but will also remain a legend in South Korean Olympic lore.
Long live the Queen.