Yuna Kim sets the ice on fire!

Few athletes have had to cope with the massive expectation that weighed on Republic of Korea figure skater Kim Yuna ahead of Vancouver 2010. Many fans assumed that all she had to do to win the women’s competition was turn up.

It was easy to understand why. Kim had only lost twice in the previous three years. In the run-up to Vancouver, she won Skate America and the Grand Prix final and appeared to be in fantastic form. But the Olympic Games have a habit of throwing up surprises and seeing the favourites stumble when the pressure is on.

Kim, however, shrugged off the pressure and made a brilliant start to her campaign. Her short programme contained an impressive triple Lutz/triple toe loop combination as well as a triple flip and double axel. She was awarded a score of 78.50, a world record under the new scoring system, and almost five points ahead of second-placed Mao Asada of Japan who scored 73.78. Already, “Queen Yuna” looked to have an impregnable lead.