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South Korea's Kim Yu-Na earns figure skating gold

South Korea's Kim Yu-Na

Korea's Kim skates to record gold

Overwhelming favourite Kim Yu-Na of South Korea shrugged off massive expectation to win a stunning gold in the women's figure skating on Thursday.

Kim scored 150.06 in her free programme at the Pacific Coliseum for a world-record total of 228.56 to win gold ahead of Japan's Mao Asada in 205.50.

Home favourite Joannie Rochette, whose mother recently died, beat Mirai Nagasu of the United States to the bronze.

Rochette's mother died of a heart attack only four days ago.

The Canadian skater received a standing ovation before and after her routine and her bronze medal was warmly received by the thousands of spectators inside the Pacific Coliseum.

"I feel proud and the result did not matter," she said.

"I'm happy to be on the podium. It was a lifetime project for me and my mom and we achieved that."

Kim is the reigning world champion and led going into Friday's free skate and produced a fine performance to seal the gold in Vancouver.

The 19-year-old has made a habit of spectacular performances, but even she was dazzled by this one.

She said "Oh my god!" when she saw the monstrous score - a mark her top competitors can only dream of - and coach Brian Orser pumped both arms, shaking his clasped fists over each shoulder.

It will go down as one of the greatest performances in figure skating history, and is South Korea's first medal at the Winter Olympics in a sport other than speed skating.

"I can't believe this day has finally come for me," said Kim.

"I still can't believe the score that I received, I'm really surprised. It's almost as close as the men's score."

"In the past, I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to do what I wanted, but I am really happy that I was able to show everything I did in training.

"Watching previous figure skaters, I always wondered why they cried after their performance. Crying for the first time today, I still don't know why I did."



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see also
Winter Olympics day 14 photos
25 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010
Day 14 as it happened
25 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010
Korea's Kim leads brave Rochette
24 Feb 10 |  Figure skating
Canadians waltz to ice dance gold
23 Feb 10 |  Figure skating
China secure figure skating gold
16 Feb 10 |  Figure skating
Winter Olympics weather
26 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010


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