Junior championYuna Kim won her first major title in 2006, when she claimed gold in the World Junior Championships ahead of Mao Asada, the Japanese skater who would later become one of her main rivals at senior level. Her subsequent progress led her to the 2009 World Championship title, as she saw off the challenge of Canada’s Joannie Rochette, and that meant that when she took her Olympic bow the following year in Vancouver, she was firm favourite for gold.
James Bond GirlKim chose to perform her short programme to a medley of soundtracks from the James Bond movies, impressing both the public and the judges with her technical prowess and bold artistry, executing flawless sequences of the most difficult jumps such as triple lutz and triple toe loops to set a new world record of 78.50 points and take a comfortable lead going into the decisive free programme
New world recordThis time performing to the music of George Gershwin, Kim produced another series of perfectly executed triple jumps to underline her supremacy in the technical elements. Her interpretation of the choreography was equally majestic, and her score of 150.06 was another new world record.On the world’s biggest stage, she had produced the best performance of her career, and was crowned Olympic champion with a new combined world record total of 228.56 points, a benchmark that nobody has since been able to better. She also claimed the honour of becoming the first female figure skater from Republic of Korea to win Olympic gold.Ambassador for 2018Kim followed up her impressive exploits on the Olympic stage in Vancouver with consecutive second place finishes at the Worlds in 2010 and 2011. She then decided to take a two-year sabbatical from the rink. “After the Games last year, I found myself caught up in a whirlwind of activities, on top of all the preparations for competitions. I felt I needed a break,” she explained in October 2011.However she remained very much at the centre of the Olympic stage, agreeing to become an ambassador for PyeongChang’s bid to host the 2018 Winter Games. On 6 July 2012 in Durban (RSA) she stepped up to deliver a stirring presentation to the IOC members, which helped secure the Games for the Korean city in the first round of voting.
Silver swansong in Sochi Kim returned to the rink in 2013 and in March won her second world title in London (CAN). A year later she headed for Sochi to defend her Olympic title, and was once again firm favourite. After just edging a three-way contest with Russia’s Adelina Sotnikova and Carolina Kostner of Italy in the short programme, she delivered another fine performance in the free programme, but on this occasion had to settle for silver behind the teenage Sotnikova. Immediately after stepping off the podium, Kim announced that she would be retiring from competition to pursue other interests.