South Korea’s Kim Yu-Na was in a class of her own to capture the Olympic figure skating title with a world record score after the free programme on Thursday.
The 19-year-old reigning world champion, who led after Tuesday’s short programme, made no mistake with a demonstration of near perfection in Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum to give her nation a first figure skating gold and the sixth of the Games.
Silver went to Japan’s Mao Asada while there was an emotional bronze for Canada’s Joannie Rochette four days after the death of her mother in Vancouver.
Kim followed Tuesday’s short programme routine to the James Bond theme with a superb free skate to Concerto in F by George Gershwin to tally 228.56 points, beating her own world record by 18 points.
She was awarded 150.06 for a free skate which left her in tears and put her well out of reach of any of her rivals.
“I am really happy. I don’t know why I cried, I think I was just very emotional,” she said.
“I did a clean performance. I guessed a 130 or a 140 but I’m surprised. I still can’t believe the score I received.” Kim said she was able to produce everything she could in training.
“I still can’t believe my performance,” she said.
“Watching previous figure skaters, I always wondered why they cried after their performance. Crying for the first time today, I still don’t know why I did.
“I can’t believe this day has finally arrived for me.” Kim had to watch as Asada and Rochette, lying second and third respectively after the short programme, followed. But it was already clear the bar had been set too high.
A couple of mistakes dented any hopes Asada had of matching Kim, but her total score of 205.50 proved enough for silver.
Rochette was given another rousing reception in her second appearance since her mother Therese died on Sunday, and the 24-year-old Canadian again responded with a determined if not error-free performance which earned her a total of 202.64 for the bronze medal.
“I feel proud and the result did not matter,” Rochette said.
“I’m happy to be on the podium. It was a lifetime project for me and my mom and we achieved that.” Mirai Nagasu of the United States — sixth after the short programme — was last up, and the 16-year-old responded with an excellent performance to finish fourth ahead of Japan’s Miki Ando, Finland’s Laura Lepisto and American Rachael Flatt.
With all the figure skating medals distributed, it means Russia has finish without an Olympic gold medal in figure skating for the first time in 50 years.