Kim Yu-Na, the 2009 World Champion, took an enormous step to winning gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Women's Figure Skating with a dominating performance in the Short Program Tuesday night.
Kim, from South Korea, set a new world's best with a score of 78.50 for her James Bond skate, a full 4.72 points ahead of Japan's Mao Asada, who is currently in second place.
Canada's Joannie Rochette, skating just two days after her mother died, gave a courageous and emotional performance, earning 71.36 points, good enough for third.
Americans Rachael Flatt and Mirai Nagasu are fifth and sixth, 6.72 and 7.60 points out of medal contention, respectively.
Our figure skating Blog, Required Elements, was offering live-updates throughout the competition:
Joannie Rochette (Canada, Music: La Cumparsita): Come on, Joannie. I can't even imagine how this is for her. Massive amounts of applause, Rochette appears to be blinking back tears. me too. But she's got her competition face on now. Perfect triple lutz/double toe!!! Crowd clapping to her music. Triple flip, also perfect. She is skating the best she's done in the short all season. Last jump, double axel, perfect. Now just to put the finishing touches. Spiral sequence. Tiny bit of shakiness but good positions here. Nice layback, variety. And here comes the footwok, good job. Nice final spin. Wow. WOW. Oh my god, Joannie!!! I can't believe that. She is an absolute inspiration. Good for her. Her dad is in the stands. This is just...I have no words. 71.36, WOW. That is a very high score. I mean...that is really a score. Amazing to see this for Joannie. She is in third place.
Yu-na Kim (South Korea, Music: 007): Triple lutz, triple toe - PERFECT. Triple flip here....let's go Kim you can do this....YES!!!! No problemo. Nice layback here, Biellmann. Now she starts to sell it. Spiral..a bit shaky...double axel, as if there was any doubt. Beautiful sit spin positions. Footwork, so much fun here. She did it!!! Ugh, I don't know who I would pick. You have to think Kim gets a higher score maybe because of the triple/triple. I am so GLAD to see these two do this. Scott thinks she worked the performance more than Mao but I was really impressed with Asada as well. But Kim was just perfect. WOW 78.50, all-time record, like there was ever any doubt. She is on another planet.
The gold medal is awarded Thursday night, after the Free Skate.