SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Yuna Kim's career ended Thursday night with an Olympic silver medal.
And relief. The South Korean star and 2010 gold medalist finished second to Russia's Adelina Sotnikova in the women's event, then retired. "This was my last competition," she said. Kim is the only skater from her nation to win an Olympic figure skating medal. She also owns two world championship titles.
She barely won the short program on Wednesday, but lost to Sotnikova by more than five points in the free skate. Kim never was as comfortable in Sochi as she was at the Vancouver Games. "The biggest feeling was being relieved because it was over," she said. " I want to rest."
After winning the 2009 world championship in spectacular fashion, Kim became a heavy favorite for the 2010 Games. She came through just as brilliantly, and even stuck around for one more season. Then she left competitive skating for a year, and there was speculation she would not attempt to skate in Sochi. But Kim returned for the 2012-13 season and won her second world crown.
A foot injury sidelined her for the Grand Prix campaign this season, and she rarely cracked a smile or looked comfortable once she arrived in Russia. She even admitted several times the desire to win another gold medal wasn't as strong as her drive to win the first one.
"At that time I could die for gold in the Olympics," she said of the Vancouver Games. "But that desire, that strong wish was not as present. The motivation was a problem, I think." Kim will skate in a show back home in May, but otherwise has no plans. She will skip next month's world championships in Saitama, Japan, which could cause some problems for South Korea. The nation's other two skaters in Sochi finished 16th and 21st.
They will need a much better showing in Saitama to keep three spots in the 2015 championships. Kim's retirement also means home fans won't be able to watch her skate at the Pyeongchang Winter Games four years from now.