Thursday, February 17, 2011

Yuna Kim is ready for World Champs

L.A. weather is great, but Kim ready for spring in Tokyo

After a year away, Olympic champion Yuna Kim is ready to return to competition ice in March at Worlds in Tokyo. caught up with the new California girl to talk L.A., coaches, and goals. 
One year ago, with the pressure of an entire nation on its "Queen," South Korea's Yuna Kim realized the ultimate goal in figure skating. She became Olympic champion by skating two perfect performances. Many expected her to ride off into the history books, but not Kim.
Since Vancouver she has moved from Toronto to Los Angeles, changed coaches, and is now preparing to return to competition at the World Championships in March. caught up with the 20-year-old to see how she feels about competing for the first time in a year and about living in Hollywood.

When did it finally set in that you are Olympic champion?
It finally dawned on me that I realized my longtime dream of becoming an Olympic champion during the medal ceremony, when I got on the podium to receive gold medal. It was an emotional moment for me.

What was the most exciting opportunity you were given since winning the Olympic gold medal?
After the Olympics, I became the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and took part in the UN International Day of Peace ceremony. I feel honored to be involved with UNICEF and I'm proud I can play a small role in raising awareness in its causes.
Last September, I got a wonderful birthday present from my Korean fans; a donation under my name to UNICEF. I was so surprised, yet happy at the same time that my involvement can inspire people to start thinking about what makes a difference. Also, I got to meet some great female athletes at the Annual Gala of Women's Sports Foundation.

How difficult was the summer? You moved, changed coaches, and had to find motivation to train again after winning the sport's biggest prize...
Things were tough for a while, but I didn't have any issues adjusting to a new training environment and coach. In a way, it helped motivate me to move forward and look ahead.

What do you enjoy most about your new coach and training center?
Peter [Oppegard] is the kind of coach that pushes you hard during training but always encourages with positive words. We get along great. There are many good skaters training here in Artesia and they've been a wonderful source of energy.

How do you like Los Angeles - are you recognized a lot? Have you visited the beaches?
The great thing about L.A. is the weather. I've been to several beaches - Newport Beach, Santa Monica and Malibu. I am enjoying living in L.A. I get recognized a lot, especially by the Koreans and they are so nice. Their support and interest mean a lot to me.

You did not participate in the Grand Prix Series. What was it like to have this time to train and not compete for the first time in many years?
I was so focused on the Olympics during the entire season and I just needed to take some time off post-Olympic. I think I made the right decision skipping the Grand Prix series as it gave me more time to prepare for the World Championship. It's given me a chance to refocus and check my programs in more detail.

When did your training begin to pick up again after doing shows this summer and fall? When did you start to feel ready for Worlds?
I really started focusing on training for the new season in October, right after the All That Skate LA show when I started training with Peter Oppegard. I felt I was ready for the Worlds last month.

Are you trying any new elements this season?
There won't be any surprises. My technical elements will not be very different from last year. I'm focused on perfecting the artistic movements and expressions of the characters in my programs. I want to be able to tell a story to the audience.

What aspects of your skating have you been working to improve?
As my preparation for the season started later this year, my goal has been to get back into the same top physical condition as pre-Olympics.

Are you nervous to compete again? 
Yes, I am little bit nervous but excited at the same time.

What are you goals for Worlds?
I want to show everything that I prepared for the Worlds and breathe with the audience. The result will come along with that.

What are you looking forward to at Worlds?
It's been a year since my last competition and I look forward to returning to the ice. I can't wait to present my new programs to the audience and fans.


  1. I'm sure she's ready, I dunno if I could compete after all that downtime but she has her schedule so she's set =D

  2. I heard she's dating... *heart cracking*