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Kim Yuna is head of the pack

October 19, 2009

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In the Olympic year season opener, Kim Yuna put an early stamp on the gold at Vancouver.  She beat out her previously recorded high score of 207.71, winning with 210.03.  And this all without the triple flip that she took out in the long program.  Impressive!

So, I’m a pretty big figure skating nerd and with the Olympics coming up, along with a Korean favorite to boot, I will probably be blogging about Kim Yuna on and off.

Along with being a skating nerd, I’m also a skating snob.  I hate watching skaters who’re only good at jumps but have no artistic merit.  And I hate it even more when they win Olympic medals, especially the gold.  Ahhhhhh!!!!

I didn’t know much about Yuna until I saw her in her first senior season in 2006.  She was still a bit green back then but I thought she had potential.  I actually thought Mao Asada was better back then and was happy to see a rivalry blossoming with 2 Asians.

That was then and this is now.  It’s amazing how much Yuna has gotten better in the last few years.  She’s a head above everyone else right now, including Mao Asada.  Yuna reminds me of a more confident, more dependable Sasha Cohen.  Just like Sasha, she’s technically flawless but she seems to be able to grit out a performance, unlike Sasha who would always lose focus.

I’m also impressed by her artistic ability.  I think she can still improve on this front, but she’s quite exquisite when she skates.  I’m really looking forward to seeing her programs improve.  Sometimes I feel like she’s so effortless and easy that it lacks fire?  Her soon to be Olympic programs (short – James Bond Medley; long – Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F) could both use a bit more seasoning but I’m hoping it results in gold for the talented and deserving skater.

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Mao Asada on the other hand seems to have stunted her artistic growth, focusing on her jumps and technical elements.  She’s planning on 3! triple axels, 1 in her short and 2 in her long.  It’s quite ambitious, but I guess she needs them to have a chance at beating Yuna.  Unfortunately, heavily technical programs tend to look like a series of jumps, with some arm flailing thrown in between.  I was really disappointed watching her programs.

On the artistic front, there is no one better than Michelle Kwan (my all time favorite).  Michelle wasn’t the best technical skater but she was dependable technically and extraordinary artistically.  She rarely had any wasted moments in her performances and she skated to her fingertips.  She brought a certain intensity to the ice that is just hard to match.

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In honor of Michelle, here are a few of my favorite performances:

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