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Asada is no longer a rival to Kim
JANUARY 07, 2014 06:15  
밫he veteran뭩 V with her overwhelming performance, 밃n overwhelming score of 227.86 points, and 밊ull 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 skater뭩 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, 밙im 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, 밪he has become the wall blocking Asada뭩 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.

Asada뭩 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 Japan뭩 National Championships in December.

Japanese media also think that Kim is the world뭩 best. Sports Nippon and Sankei Sports named her the 뱏ueen. NBC Sports praised her with the title 밳UNA-nimous!

○ Rivalry not any more

Figure skating experts say in unison, 밃sada is no longer Kim뭩 rival. A figure skating judge said, 밫he gap is growing. (Kim is) different in all aspects including jumps and performance. Another judge said, 밙im뭩 jump is like a professional basketball player뭩 but Asada뭩 jump is more like a student뭩.

Asada뭩 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 Asada뭩 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.

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