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Asada is no longer a rival to Kim

Posted January. 07, 2014 06:15,   

Updated January. 01, 1970 09:00


“The veteran’s V with her overwhelming performance,” “An overwhelming score of 227.86 points,” and “Full preparation for the Sochi Games”

The titles of Japanese newspapers reflect their uncomfortable stance towards Korean figure skating star Kim Yu-na.

Japanese media covered the 24-year-old figure skater’s victory in the Korean Figure Skating Championship with a score of 227.86 points. They were forced to admit her stellar performance and high score but expressed regrets about Mao Asada, a 24-year-old Japanese figure skater. Sports Nippon said, “Kim Yu-na is presenting an obstacle to Asada who is aiming for a gold medal in the Sochi Games.” Japanese sports daily Sports Hochi said, “She has become the wall blocking Asada’s way to the end.”

○ Japanese media accepts the Korean figure skater

Kim and Asada will put an end to a decade-long rivalry, which started when they were junior skaters, in the upcoming Sochi Olympics. Both will retire after the Games.

Kim and Asada show a divergence in performance in the run up to their final competition. Kim has shown strong performance with scores over 200 points in five domestic and international competitions since the summer of 2012 when she came back on the rink.

Asada’s performance seems to be on a rollercoaster, however. In 2013, she won twice in the Grand Prix series and won the Grand Prix Final title, while she was third (199.50) at Japan’s National Championships in December.

Japanese media also think that Kim is the world’s best. Sports Nippon and Sankei Sports named her the “queen.” NBC Sports praised her with the title “YUNA-nimous!”

○ Rivalry not any more

Figure skating experts say in unison, “Asada is no longer Kim’s rival.” A figure skating judge said, “The gap is growing. (Kim is) different in all aspects including jumps and performance.” Another judge said, “Kim’s jump is like a professional basketball player’s but Asada’s jump is more like a student’s.”

Asada’s ace in the hole to beat Kim is her triple axel, which is a difficult jump with a basic value of 8.5 points. Extra points are hard to earn because of the lack of spins or unstable landing.

Despite Asada’s successful triple axel in Sochi, Kim is likely to win the competition. Asada successfully performed her triple axel flawlessly in the short program in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics with a score of 73.78 points. Kim scored 78.50. Asada successfully scored two triple axels in the free skating, but the winner was Kim. Kim scored a combined total of 228.56, beating Asada who gained 205.50 by more than 20 points.