Yuna Kim and Mao Asada eyeing gold at Sochi Winter Olympics 2014
Korean figure skater Yuna Kim will be returning to the ice to defend her Figure Skating championship title at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.
The 24-year-old wowed the judges and crowd with her dazzling performances at the 2010 Vancouver Games, breaking Guinness World records with her scores and landing the first-ever figure skating Gold medal for her country.
Since winning Gold at the 2010 Olympics, Kim has become an icon in Korea, appearing on hundreds of endorsements and inspiring a new generation of young skaters.
Kim took a brief break from the ice in 2011 but is back to skate to do what she loves. She stated, "I love figure skating. It's what I'm good at. That's why I decided to come back."
Her main rival will be Japan's Mao Asada, who won the silver medal at the 2010 Olympics. Once dubbed the best skater in the world, Asada lost out to Yuna after her jumps fell apart at the 2010 Games. She is among the handful of women who can successfully carry out the triple axel.
Kim and Asada will be vying for the Olympic gold medal for the last time and the competition will be tough as both skaters have recently grabbed more titles in their own right. Asada won the 2013 Grand Prix championships while Kim won the 2013 world title.
Another contender to look out for is America's Gracie Gold. The 18-year-old (pictured above) recently won the U.S. Figure Skating championship in Boston and has been named among the three ladies for the Olympic Team USA. The other two ladies heading to the Olympics to represent the United States are Polina Edmunds and Ashley Wagner.
Kim will be going for her second consecutive Olympic gold medal, a feat that has been accomplished by only a few women skaters. Past winners of consecutive gold medals in women's figure skating are Norway's Sonja Henie who won in 1928, 1932 and 1936 and former East Germany's Katarina Witt, who took gold in 1984 and 1988.
At a training camp in Seoul, Kim recently stated: "I'm in good shape. It's not easy to do well every time, but I've made preparations enough to gain plenty of confidence."
She continued, "Many people talk about winning two straight gold medals, but I'm not focusing on defending the title. I just hope to do everything I've prepared to do. As long as I can do that, I think the results will follow and I should be able to end my career without regrets."
Kim has announced that she will be retiring after the 2014 Sochi Olympics.