Sochi Olympics 2014; Yuna Kim vs Mao Asada, Both Aim for Figure Skating Gold Medal Before Retirement; LIVE STREAM Program Begins Sat. Feb. 8
By Alma L. Cruz, Crossmap On February 7, 2014
The Sochi Olympics 2014 Figure Skating program will be a memorable event for international champions Yuna Kim and Mao Asada. Both figure skating stars are expected to skate competitively for the last time at the Sochi Olympics 2014 rink before retirement. Yuna Kim and Mao Asada are both considered among the best figure skaters in Olympics history and are also known for a friendly rivalry that has lasted years. Both girls are hitting the ice in Sochi soon and are hoping to end on top.
South Korea's Yuna Kim single-handedly solidified her name in history when she gave amazing performances during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Kim also set a world record during her Vancouver performance and took home the first-ever gold medal in figure skating for her country. After taking a short break from the ice, Kim returned at the 2013 World Championship and appeared ready to take on the 2014 Olympics at Sochi.
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"Yuna Kim has been out of the game on the world stage since the World Championships in March. When you miss the Grand Prix series, it's hard to come out and score big numbers, but if anyone can do it it's her," Johnny Weir, an NBC Sport commentator said. "She came out of a small event last year and won the world title by a mile and she's looking to show that she's capable of doing that again, only this time the prize is the Olympics."
Mao Asada is also a very popular performer, especially in her home country of Japan. The 23-year old skater is considered one of the top revivals to Yuna Kim.
"We've been rivals ever since our junior years. There was always a lot of attention on us and strong expectations of us in both Japan and South Korea," Mao Asada said to the Global News Channel.
"There were times it was tough. But I think that without Yuna Kim, I would not have developed, and in fact I think this friendly rivalry gave me my motivation."
Mao Asada has been skating competitively for over 10 years. The Japan native won two world championships and a silver medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
"Mao really had such a struggle after 2010, but this season she's again looking like the Asada of 2010 and appears so consistent and sure of herself. I think it's going to be interesting against Yuna. I think it's going to be a rivalry again. It's going to be a showdown," Tara Lipinski, an NBC Sports commentator said about the Sochi 2014 Olympics.
Yuna Kim will be defending her 2010 gold medal at Sochi. However, the South Korean native is not focused only on the gold.
"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 shared recently.
Mao Asada is making her first appearance at the Sochi 2014 Olympics during the Ladies' Short team program on Feb. 8 at 11:10 AM EST.
Catch a live stream of the event here.