Figure Skating | ICE TIME

Kim selects program music as road to Sochi begins

Defending world and Olympic champion Kim Yu-na has selected the music for the programs she hopes will carry her to a second straight gold medal next year at the Sochi Games.

Kim, who turned 23 on Thursday, will skate to “Send in the Clowns” for her short program. The song is from the 1973 musical “A Little Night Music.”

The music for Kim’s free skate will be a tango piece called “Adios Nonino,” which was composed by Argentina’s Astor Piazzolla in 1959.

“It is the most difficult of all the programs I’ve done so far, but it’s very satisfying,” Kim was quoted as saying by Chosun Ilbo of her planned free skate. “I hope to show the best of my skating ability as this is going to be the last program of my competitive career.”

Regarding the music for her short program, Kim stated, “This song is about longing for an old flame, and it came to mind when we were thinking about what would best suit my short program.”

Kim, whose Grand Prix assignments this season are at Skate Canada and Trophee Bompard, noted that choreographer David Wilson described it as the perfect match for her style.

Wilson first began working with Kim in 2006, the same year she beat out Mao Asada for the world junior title.

The South Korean can expect challenges from fellow two-time world champion Mao and 2012 world champ Carolina Kostner of Italy in the battle for the gold in Russia.

With the Grand Prix Final scheduled for Fukuoka in December, Japanese fans could get an early preview of the drama likely to play out at the Olympics with the veteran skaters.

The megastar was feted by fans at a Seoul theater on Thursday, where Chosun Ilbo quoted her as saying, “I will do my best in this Olympic season, which will be the last of my competitive career, so that I leave with no regrets.”

When asked about her free skate, Kim reportedly stated, “It’s so difficult that I don’t even have time to breathe when I’m performing it, but I’m satisfied though. It’s been a while since the choreography was completed, so I’ve been training hard and will continue to do so in order to master it.”

Interesting twist: Recent Internet reports have claimed that Miki Ando, who has sat out the last two competitive seasons, has traveled to the United States in search of a new coach.

One of the meetings she supposedly had was with former coach and paramour Nikolai Morozov, at which she asked him to guide her once again. Ando and Morozov teamed up to win two world titles (2007, 2011) during their partnership.

Ando, who gave birth to a daughter in March, is launching a longshot bid to make Japan’s Olympic team for a third time. Now 25, Ando has been skating in ice shows the past few months, but has her work cut out for her if she is to earn a berth on the squad for Sochi.

Ando would first have to go through qualifying for the Kanto area and then Eastern Japan before the nationals in December. Without any GP assignments this season, Ando will be trying to pull off the near impossible in forcing one of the three favorites — Mao, Akiko Suzuki and Kanako Murakami — off the team.

What Ando is attempting to do is not unachievable, but the odds are long, and without a veteran coach, even longer. If she can somehow convince Morozov, who is now coaching Daisuke Takahashi for the second time after an acrimonious parting back in 2008, to take her on again, she would greatly improve her chances.

Stay tuned . . . in the world of skating anything is possible.

Training camp: Suzuki, Nobunari Oda and Tatsuki Machida are among the skaters currently working on their programs in Armenia, where two-time world champion Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland is assisting as a guest coach.

Satoko Miyahara is also attending the three-day camp, which is being held in the capital city of Yerevan. The site was selected because it is located just a one-hour flight from Sochi.

Campaign begins: The Junior GP season kicked off last week in Riga with the first of seven competitions. Shoma Uno, a 15-year-old from Nagoya, placed third in the men’s event for Japan’s best showing.

Uno, who is coached by Machiko Yamada, made the podium for the third time in three seasons. He earned the silver medal at the Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria, last year.

Yuka Nagai and Yura Matsuda finished eighth and ninth in the women’s singles.

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