LONDON, ONT. - Fittingly, the “Queen” has recaptured her throne in Canada.
Yuna Kim, the Olympic gold medalist in Vancouver three years ago, capped her pre-Sochi comeback with a dominant win for her second world title Saturday night at Budweiser Gardens.
The 22-year-old South Korean superstar, who previously trained four years in Toronto under Canadian skating legend Brian Orser, scored 148.34 points – less than two points shy of her world record long program at the Winter Games – and a 218.31 combined total.
It was a stunning performance by the once-again Olympic favourite, who came into London having competed just twice in the past two years.
“I had a great long program and I am proud I could do it,” said Kim, who won her first title in 2009 at Los Angeles. “I am happy as well to skate here in Canada again with this wonderful audience. I am glad too that we have (two) more (women's) spots for Korea at the Olympics and I want to experience this with my fellow skaters.”
Kaetlyn Osmond, fourth after the short program, finished eighth in her debut worlds with a 176.82 combined total and earned Canada a second women's spot in Sochi next year. Fourth after the short program, the 17-year-old from Marystown, Nfld., fell on two jumps and scored 112.09 points, nearly four points shy of her top free skate at Skate Canada International last fall in Windsor.
But her performance this week means Canada will send a team of 17 out of 18 figure skaters to the Olympics in 2014.
It means a lot, to finish top 10,” she said. “Overall, the experience here has been unbelievable. My goal was a top 10 finish, and now we have two spots for the Olympics. It wasn’t a perfect performance.
“It’s my first Worlds and I am happy with it. I have learned so much.”
Kim's triumphant return denied Carolina Kostner her shot at becoming the first back-to-back women's world champ since Michelle Kwan won her second straight in Vancouver in 2001. The 26-year-old Italian skated her long program with a nosebleed and scored 131.03 for a combined 197.89 – good enough for the silver medal.
It was her fifth medal in 11 worlds appearances.
Some blood leaked onto the ice during one of her spins.
“It would have most definitely been easier for me without these circumstances,” she said, but it was the lesson I had to learn here, like a test for me.
“I am happy I passed it and also a little proud of myself.”
Former world champ Mao Asada of Japan jumped from sixth in the short program to third with 196.47.