Kim Yuna, Asada Mao, and figure skating.

I should have gone to sleep, but I just feel like writing right now, so I think I should, to take it off my chest.

I remembered watching figure skating programs when I was a child, I even remembered my father exclaimed “How beautiful!” every now and then when there was an impressive jump.

I didn’t follow it much though. There wasn’t any sports in particular that interested me.

Kim Yuna – I didn’t know her because of her being a figure skater. I had my first glimpse of her when I watched her duet with IU. From there, I knew about Yuna’s program “Kiss & Cry” that IU also participated in, as well as her being a figure skater.

Even so, I didn’t pay much attention to her. I heard about her once in a while and I knew she was extremely famous, but I still didn’t take any interests in her.

Then for a recent couple of months, I had been being more active in kites (a Vietnamese forum which is most well-known for their Vietnamese subtitles for Korean dramas/movies/variety programs). It was due to the fact that for a period of time, I needed to have kite$ (only virtual money) to “buy” the things I wanted to download. There were many ways to earn kite$, one of which was to comment on topics that the creator let the commentators earned bonus points. And it just happened that the person who posted news about Kim Yuna was usually generous and she gave out bonus points for commentators every time. I didn’t like commenting nonsense just to earn the bonus points, so I always read and watched all the things she put there. As a result, before I realized it, I knew a lot more about Kim Yuna than I ever imagined I would. Sometimes I funnily felt that I was tricked into it, but it worked nonetheless, and it wasn’t bad for me in any ways.

Well, it was good in fact, because I’ve found the second Korean celebrity I really liked and admired, after IU. Not only because of her impressive career (she didn’t finished any lower than third place in her entire career of approximately 10 years, she broke a good sum of world records – some of which were the records she herself set), but also because she appeared as a person with dignity, calmness, grace.

Watching her performances in Sochi wasn’t my plan though. I liked her as a person, but as much to convert me to a sport follower was something else entirely. Coincidentally, I was wandering in kites and I saw the topic about Yuna there. “Hm, I’m not watching anything now, may as well watch this, it might be entertaining” – I thought, totally didn’t expect what was about to come.

The first performer I watched was Park So Youn. It was her first Olympic experience I think. It wasn’t extraordinary good, but she was cute. So was another skater from Korea – Kim Hae Jin.

The first performance I enjoyed greatly was the one from Polina Edmunds. It was filled with joy. I felt happy when I watch it.

The second performance I paid attention to was the one from Asada Mao. I heard she was considered to be one of Yuna’s rivals, with her being silver medalist in Olympic Vancouver 2010 (Yuna took the gold), and a difficult technique which Yuna couldn’t even compete. But she fell.

It was the same for Yulia Lipnitskaya. She was originally Russia’s hope for the gold medal. She was good, so was her flexibility, but she also fell.

Then it was Yuna’s performance. It was my first time watching her performing in real time. Of course I watched her performances on YouTube before, but it was nothing compared to when I watched it live. I held my breath the whole time. My heart was beating fast. It felt as if she was floating in water or air, as if her personality shined through calmly and gracefully. It was breathtakingly beautiful. Not to mention that she delivered all the techniques fantastically. My eyes had tears when she finished. I couldn’t agree more when the commentator said “It was a privilege to watch!”. I felt lucky that I was living at the same era with her, lucky enough to still be able to watch one of her last two performances of her career, and what a sensational one at that.

Only after that I knew her condition wasn’t very good. She didn’t feel the pressure, but she was nervous (she said something like she was a human after all), she had numb feet and couldn’t jump at all before the performance. I knew something wasn’t quite right from her expression before she performed, but I didn’t know it was serious as such. “I tried to believe in myself and believed in what I’ve done before”. And look at what she was able to pull off. Absolutely amazing.

She took the first place in the short program with that.

The next day was the free program (but I usually see people mention it more as long program (LP)? I suppose because apparently each skater has longer time to perform than in the short program (SP)). I hadn’t known any of the rules or terms before watching this, so from what I saw, I believe only 24 skaters out of 30 in the short program would be qualified to the free program. Then they would be divided to 4 groups, and they took the draw within the group to know the sequence of performing. Yuna was the last one in this order (what a luck it was! She was known to publicly say that she didn’t like to perform last, since it would be rather long between the warm-up of the group and her performance).

What caught me off-guard was Asada Mao’s performance though. She moved me deeply, totally captured my heart. My words couldn’t explain enough how emotional I was for such an exceptionally touching performance. After watching her, I was kind of like in a dilemma since my feeling for her performance was as strong as when I watched Yuna’s performance with Send in the Clowns. It felt like I was betraying Yuna somehow. : D

When Yuna performed, I felt at ease again. It was fortunate that unlike being in a relationship, I could root for both of these gorgeous ladies, no guilty. I still liked Yuna not any less than Mao. The way Yuna handled the jumps with ease and how firm they all were, the utter gracefulness she delivered throughout her performance, as well as her personality that shined quietly but not any less brightly than it should be, were all the things that no scale of score could do it justice.

When I first started writing this blog entry, I was in a rage because Yuna didn’t win the gold medal. I still think they pushed up the score for Adelina too much for both short and long programs. She was a great skater, no doubt about that, her techniques were good and she was passionate on ice, too. But in my opinion, she wasn’t anywhere near Yuna’s capability. When Yuna was the definition of class, I simply saw Adelina as an eager student who had potential and that was all. Her landing for the jumps was shaky and nerve-wrecking, I always had the feeling that she was going to fall, very close to fall. Whereas with Yuna, she always made it feel so effortlessly. Even if Adelina had the base of difficulty level higher, I didn’t think she deserved the point she got. It couldn’t be so close to the Guinness World Records score Yuna set in Olympic Vancouver 2010. It was just no way possible. If Yuna was a Russian, or if the competition didn’t take place in Russia, there couldn’t be such a result. I had no ill-feelings toward Adelina. I was just mad at the judges.

But now it’s okay. Yuna did say before Sochi that the final result depended on many elements, I think she knew what was coming. When she finished her performance, I looked at her face and I felt how the result could turn out already. I think she knew she had to deliver a flawless performance in order to have a chance to beat the favor for a competitor competing in her homeland. Yuna did it well, her level certainly was above Adelina’s, but not enough. In all the fuss about the result, she was the calmest. Yeah, it’s okay. To me, the medalists is forever gold for Kim Yuna, silver for Asada Mao (if only she was as good in the short program…), and bronze for Carolina Kostner. Thank you for the wonderful performances, you three and all the ladies skaters who didn’t make it to the top three, too.

Final note: no one can beat Kim Yuna for her class. She Is The Real Queen.

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