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Figure Skating: Yuna Kim's Programs

Updated on November 11, 2015

Yuna Kim in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics


Can a masterpiece be born in competition?

Yes, with a plenty of reasons. Look at Yuna Kim.

Yuna Kim, though having settled for sliver in the 2014 Sochi Olympics due to its outrageous judging fraud, left indelible footprints in the ladies figure skating.

Yuna Kim, considered by many as one of the most talented skaters ever lived, produced quite remarkable pieces during her career.

Among Kim's extraordinary skills are her signature triple-triple jump, her own adapted Hamill spin, immaculate double axel, etc.

Although Kim's technical mastery of jump enabled her to reign the world of ladies figure skating like no other, Kim's skating shines in her versatility.

Many don't realize what makes Kim great is her detail, not her jump. Mastering jump gives her upper hand in competition but its merit also is quite limited sometimes.

Especially in Kim's skating, her jump consists of many good qualities that are not necessarily converted to points under the COP system.

Kim's jump shows a textbook standard in which all components, such as takeoff, rotating axis, air position, rotation, speed, landing, and transition before and after jump, come together to be incorporated to the given choreography.

But one of most unappreciated features in Kim's skating is her sit-spin.

Kim flaunts the best outlined position, rarely found in other skaters.

Most skaters don't pay attention to sit spins because what counts in competition is height, rotation, foot change or position, not how it was done to produce an ideal shape as possible.

Difficulty is one thing in figure skating, but even if a certain position is hard to do, but fails to evoke aesthetic appeal, then what value is that?

While competing, it is hard for skaters to bother all the details. But this is where Kim stands out.

Of course, Kim didn't venture to an old art school like her legendary predecessors, Janet Lynn or Dorothy Hamill forty years ago, but in an era of triple jump, Kim's achievement is certainly something to celebrate about.

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Yuna Kim in 2010

Vote for your choice

Which of Kim's programs do you think is the most difficult to replicate by others?

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Kim's Gershwin in 2010

The 2009-2010 season was Yuna Kim's apex in her career. Kim won 2009 World Championships and claimed gold in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Kim was then unstoppable.

Kim's Olympic long program Gershwin was done in an almost inconceivable fashion. Although her long program score, barely over 150, was a new world record, the qualities Kim had put out in that program actually embarrasses her protocol.

Gershwin piano concerto is perhaps one of the most difficult programs to skate to. The music is extraordinarily delicate and rich in nuance and often tastes bland and insipid, that is, too classic to be used for an competive event in which skaters are to sell their performance.

A minute glitz or a moment of off syn would cause such a ruinous effect on the program. The arid strikes of note and their tonal sophistication are a prologue of mission impossible.

And it's only possible because Kim was 19, in her physiological zenith, when Kim performed Gershwin; It was an once-in-a-lifetime performance.

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Yuna Kim in 2007

Could Kim have done better after Vancouver Olympics?

There is no question about Kim's being a skater of extraordinary talent. But her ascension largely owes her former coach Brian Orser and his team staffs.

After Kim's split with Orser, Kim decided to go back to Korea. But since then, Kim's skating didn't grow much.

Rather her skating remained in a status quo at best.

That coincides with Kim's natural aging. Funny to say aging to a person in barely over twenty, but in ladies figure skating, after 18 or 19 skaters face a rapid physiological decline.

That's why Kim didn't produce anything noticeable after 2010 - except Les Miserable in 2013.

But make no mistake. Kim's lackluster programs were invariably a mile ahead of the best of her peers. Only fans who used to marvel at her innovative programs were left wondering if she could ever revive the old flare again.

Like Dick Button who openly professed after Sochi Scandal, many, including myself, knew she could do better and often went overly nit-picking on her.

Kim, a furnace of talent, was a skater who inspired the audience to dream better and want more.

You opinions that count

Do you think Kim's split with Orser impact her overall skating negatively?

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Vote for your favorite

Which program do you think is the best of all Yuna Kim's?

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Music is a medium that carries an idea; skating is a language that expresses that idea.

In figure skating, skaters communicate with audience through music and performance. A skater is to convey the musical message through a language called skating.

It is a creative art involved in technical skills.It is also an art performance in motion. That's what make figure skating great, a profound inspiration. It has a message. It has an idea expressed.

Only few understood art in figure skating. And fewer actually carried it out.

Yuna Kim in 2007

Julia Lipnitskaia in 2014

Can you tell the difference between two programs?

One is an example of good skating, the other is of bad skating. Can you tell which is which?

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      puker 13-14 3 years ago

      74 for julia and 77 caro yes overscoring. but it is more like buffering score to give mao ridiculous score like 78.66 to break WR again only at home!

    • profile image

      lee h.j 3 years ago

      Queen yuna i remember you

      Forever´╗┐ Queen is still the Queen

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      rylie 3 years ago

      Yulia`s spins are amazing.

      But i think her lutz is wrong edge. and her jumps quality is very bad.

      Junior top skaters are better than Yulia`s jumps.

      And her step sequence is looking very busy.

      This 2014 world championship is very overscored to some of skaters.

      I think Mao Asada short score should be 74 and Yulia sould be 65.

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      noname 3 years ago

      Yulia seems very busy but if you look closer she is not doing almost every elements of skating skills very well. First, she is not acting at all except first and last moments. I don't even get what she is doing and has anything to the music. No, emotion. Second, she is very good at spin cause she is young, light, and flexible but other skating skills such as twizzle, loop turn, jumps, and steps are very lousy. Probably steps will be better in time but jumps are not a thing skaters can fix or improved in a short time period. She gotta fix it right now before she experiences body changes. It was very interesting article cause both were the similar ages and one set the world record as a senior debut and the other just pretends an experts. If you want to deny, let me talk about their PCSs and how much their PCSs had increased over time.

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      jenny 3 years ago

      yulia is overscored than her skating skills.

      She has very amazing spins. but her jumps and edges are not good.

      74points are overscored. maybe 68 or 69 is for her shortprogram.

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      marry 3 years ago

      They are not in same level. Can't compare