Winter Games Athletes
Kim Yu-na isn’t just the defending Olympic gold medalist in the ladies’ singles event, but the most dominant skater over the past half-decade in the sport. The South Korean-born, Toronto-trained 23-year-old also is the 2009 and '13 World champion, the '09 Four Continents champion and a three-time Grand Prix final winner who has never finished off the podium in her illustrious career. Her performance at the Vancouver Games was one for the record books, as she set world marks in both the short program (78.50) and free skate (150.06), leading to a combined total of 228.56 points. That stellar score shattered the ladies’ previous mark and was the first medal for South Korea at a Winter Olympics in a sport other than speed skating. Kim stepped away from figure skating after winning silver at the 2011 Worlds and there was speculation she might retire, but she returned with a dominant win at the Worlds two years later. Kim will again hope rust isn’t an issue heading into Sochi, as she will skip the Grand Prix season after injuring a metatarsal bone in her right foot. That ailment kept her out of October’s Skate Canada event and the Trophee Eric Bompard in November in Paris. But with long layoffs not proving to be an impediment before, it won’t be a surprise to see Kim become the first female skater since Katarina Witt in 1988 to repeat as Olympic champion. Either way, she plans to retire for good after she walks off the Sochi ice.