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Kim reveals new programs, denies marriage rumors

by Jack Gallagher

Kim Yu-na geared up for her much-anticipated return to competition this season by announcing her musical selections for her programs recently through her agency, All That Sports.

The 2010 Olympic gold medalist has selected “Kiss of the Vampire” for her short program and a compilation of songs from “Les Miserables” for her free skate. Both programs will be arranged by noted choreographer David Wilson, whom Kim has worked with for six years.

“I’ve tried to take on different genres and depict different characters,” Kim said in a statement. “I wanted to present something new, and David Wilson suggested I try ‘The Kiss of the Vampire’ for my short program.”

For her free skate, Kim said she was seeking a program that would “make a long-lasting impression.”

“I was looking for something from films or musicals, and chose ‘Les Miserables,’ ” she said. “Personally, I am really satisfied with the program.”

Wilson said in the statement that “the sensuous and mysterious character of the vampire would suit Kim’s on-ice personality for the short program, while the free skate will express a wide range of emotions.”

Kim held a press conference last Thursday prior to her participation in the three-day Samsung All That Skate Summer 2012 show at the Olympic Gymnastics Arena in Seoul and discussed her return to skating.

“As I’m returning to competitive skating after a year off, I wanted to perform to popular and well-known music to appeal to a wider audience,” she was quoted as saying by Chosun Ilbo. “I will build up my programs steadily to get myself back in shape.”

Kim, the 2009 world champion, performed to “Tango de Roxanne” from the movie “Moulin Rouge” on the show’s opening night and wore a stunning black dress. The thunderous cheers she received nearly drowned out the music at times in videos posted on YouTube.

This was the same song that Kim used for her short program when she made her senior debut during the 2006-07 season. Kim won the Grand Prix Final that season and finished third at the world championships.

Kim’s plan is to enter a lower-level “B” event during the season and likely take the ice for the Four Continents in Osaka in February. She still does not have a coach at this point.

It’s been a busy past couple of weeks for Kim, as in addition to revealing her programs and headlining the show, her agency also sent out a press release refuting rumors that she was getting married.

In a statement distributed on Aug. 16, All That Sports said, “Rumors are spreading that Kim Yu Na will get married soon and are being treated by media outlets as credible, but they are absolutely false.”

All That Sports claimed that it had received both emails and letters from men saying they were in a serious relationship with the 21-year-old skater or already married to her. The agency has vowed to take legal action over the false claims.

Kim, who will turn 22 on Sept. 5, is clearly getting an early lesson on how fame and celebrity can bring all kinds of people out of the woodwork, including those with not the best of intentions.

The more important story is that Kim is making a serious comeback that will generate intense interest in the sport over the next 18 months in the run-up to the 2014 Sochi Games. A rematch with two-time world champion Mao Asada would once again make the sport the focal point of the Winter Olympics.

Fast out of the gate: The Junior Grand Prix season officially began last week in Courchevel, France, where Japan’s Rika Hongo placed second in the women’s singles and Ryuju Hino took third in the men’s singles.

It was an auspicious start for Japan, which will send 16 different skaters overseas to compete in the seven-event JGP series. Japan had four juniors finish in the top 10 at the worlds last season.

Satoko Miyahara (fourth at the world juniors) will start her campaign this week in Lake Placid, New York, and also take part in the JGP in Istanbul next month.

Keiji Tanaka (seventh) will also put the blades on in Lake Placid and again next month in Bled, Slovenia.

Hino (ninth) will skate again in the JGP in Linz, Austria, next month, while Shoma Uno (10th) will battle in Slovenia and the event in Chemnitz, Germany, in October.

The senior GP season kicks off with Skate America in Kent, Washington, on Oct. 19, where 2010 Olympic gold medalist Evan Lysacek will make his return to competition after sitting out the past two seasons.

Class acts: Miki Ando, Akiko Suzuki and Shizuka Arakawa have taken to Twitter in recent months to thank their legion of fans for floral arrangements they have received at shows around the nation.

The trio have been taking photos of the flowers and then posting them on their Twitter feeds with messages of appreciation.

It may not sound like much, but one can only imagine the thrill fans receive when they see the flowers they sent to their heroes posted on the Internet for all to view.