China / Sports

Kim to compete at Sochi Olympics

By Agence France-Presse in Seoul (China Daily) Updated: 2012-07-03 08:01

South Korean figure skating star Kim Yu-na (pictured) announced on Monday she would compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, ending months of speculation about her retirement.

The reigning Olympic champion made the announcement at a hastily scheduled press conference. The 21-year-old said she would retire after Sochi and try to become a member of the International Olympic Committee.

Kim's future has been the subject of much speculation since she won the gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. That victory came about a year after her first and only world crown.

Kim entered the 2010 world championships about a month after Vancouver, but finished second. She sat out the entire 2010-11 season before entering the world championships in April 2011 and finishing runner-up again.

Kim admitted she had problems remaining motivated following her Olympics triumph. "After Vancouver, I couldn't find a bigger goal for myself as a figure skater, but expectations from fans kept growing," she said.

She said she found inspiration from younger South Korean skaters while training in Seoul during her extended break from competition.

"I just tried to be a good teammate for the young ones," she said. "But I was inspired by their hard work. It also gave me the drive to keep going and I decided I still had some business left to take care of."

Kim admitted she had been unsure of her career direction until last week, due to the stress of hard training and high expectations from fans.

"I think it won't be easy ... both physically and mentally because it's been so long since I've competed," she said of her plans to skate in Sochi.

"I think there will be difficulties in bringing those feelings back to the way it used to be.

"From now, I will make a new start, not as Vancouver Olympics gold medalist Kim, but as a member of the country's figure skating team," she said.

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