Kim dazzles at South Korean national championships

Kyodo

Reigning Olympic champion Kim Yu-na came within a whisker of her own world-record mark with a captivating performance to win South Korea’s national championships on Sunday.

The 23-year-old Kim, who plans to retire after the Sochi Olympics next month, scored 147.26 points in the free skate to win the meet in Goyang with a high of 227.86 — just 0.70 off her world record of 228.56 she set at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, although the International Skating Union does not recognize scores from domestic competitions.

Kim, who returned to the international scene from a right-foot injury in December last year, said she boosted her confidence in her final meet before heading to Sochi.

“My confidence has deepened,” Yonhap News Agency quoted Kim as saying. “Overall, I am satisfied. Now I will work on the physical and technical aspects of my skating up until Sochi. I have to stay on my toes and give it all my strength.”

Dressed in a black outfit, Kim mesmerized the crowd as she danced the tango, and, as she had in her short program, landed a triple lutz-triple toeloop combination right out of the gate.

She was downgraded when she doubled a scheduled triple-combination jump and later popped out of a double axel with just 1½ revolutions.