Kim Earns Record Score, Wins Women's Figure Skating Gold, Joannie Rochette Takes Bronze

On Thursday night, it was South Korea's Kim Yu-Na, and then everybody else.

Kim, who skated on a completely different level than her competition in Women's Figure Skating this week, blew away her competition on her way to winning the gold medal. She finished with a world-record score of228.56; Japan's Mao Asada, who won silver, ended up 23.06 points back -- or, the same gap between second and eighth place.

Canadian Joannie Rochette won bronze, just days after her mother suddenly passed away.

How dominating was Kim? Asada landed two triple axels in one program for the first time in the history of women's figure skating, and scored high enough to have won the 2006 games ... and she still lost by more than 23 points.

American Mirai Nagasu totaled 190.15 points, finishing fourth, more than 12 points out of third. It marks the first time an American has not medaled in the event since 1964, and just the second time it's happened since 1952. 

For Kim, it was a long time coming, and offers a huge sense of relief.

Kim came in bearing almost incomprehensible pressure. Not only was the reigning world champ the biggest favorite since Katarina Witt in 1988 — she's lost just one competition over the last two seasons — she carried the weight of an entire nation on her slim shoulders.

The most popular athlete in South Korea, she's been dubbed "Queen Yu-na" — check out the sparkly crowns that twinkle in her ears — and she needs bodyguards whenever she returns home from her training base in Toronto. Anything she does creates a frenzy, and even a simple practice draws a rinkful of photographers.

As she has been doing throughout the Olympics, Laura at our figure skating blog, Required Elements, was offering her thoughts throughout the free skate.

Yu-Na Kim (South Korea, Music: Concerto in F by Gershwin): Triple lutz/triple toe. These are great. Triple flip - --------YESSSSS. Double axel, double toe, tano . Nice spins here. Pretty Kim faces. Spiral...not the smoothest, but I will ignore now. Spread eagle into double axel triple toe - SOO GOOD. I wish I was there to see her do these jumps. Triple salchow, perfect. Triple lutz, a little stiff on the landing but still clean. Now just to sell it, the footwork and dancing. Double axel. Sit spin, good position, nice changes. Final spin, great. Amazing. Now she's emotional. She just won, there is no need for the scores. She was a little tight in some jumps but she still did them CLEAN, because she is just sooo good. she is like...not even trying out there. Just so perfectly fits the music and the program. I can't even describe it. AND THERE IS A RECORD. Wow. 150.06 for the free, 228.56 for the total.

MoreSB Nation’s full coverage of the Winter Olympics and the 2010 Winter Olympics Medal Count Tracker.

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