Mixed Nerves Ahead of Kim Yuna’s Figure Skating Victory

Queen Yuna,” as she is often dubbed by the Korean media, emerged triumphant at the 2013 ISU World Figure Skating Championships, securing the top award for the second time. However, not all were happy ahead of her epic final.

Korean fans were left sleepless on the night of 14th, as the Olympic figure-skating champion received an unexpectedly low score for her short program. The article below reports on the responses of foreign experts on the judgement. Korean netizens criticise Japanese influence on the game and the Korean public’s complacency.

Yu-na Kim performs at 2013 World Figure Skating Championship.

From Sports Chosun:

Yuna Kim deserves to get at least 10 more points, foreign commentators enraged

Yu-na Kim is perplexed at her score.

Did they say 69.97 points?’

When Yuna Kim’s scores were announced, British commentators of Eurosport, a sports news channel, could not conceal their surprise.

Commentator Alban Preaubert, who had been lauding Kim’s performance throughout the game, sounded perplexed. ‘She got the first place, but it’s surprising what a low score they gave her,’ he said.

His partner Geraldine Pons sounded more upset than Kim’s Korean fans. ‘[Her performance was] terribly undermarked,’ Pons said. ‘She did 10 points better than that, it’s ridiculous.’

Earlier on, Pons predicted that it was possible that Kim could achieve 78.50 points, her highest record.

Yuna Kim participated in 2013 ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Budweiser Gardens, held in London, Canada (Ont) on the 15th (Korean time). In the Female Single Short Program, she scored 36.79 points for technical elements score (TES) and 33.18 points for program components score (PCS), which add up to the total of 69.97 points.

She was ranked in the first place, beating her old rival Asada Mao (from Japan, 62.10 points, 6th place) and Carolina Kostner (Italy, 66.86 points, 2nd place).

She made a successful comeback to a major competition in 2 years. But her scores were lower than expected, leaving a nasty aftertaste.

Kim showed perfect jumps, spins and step-sequences including her ‘killer technique,’ triple lutz-triple toe loop combination. However, her scores were nowhere as satisfactory.

It is highly curious how the judges justified the penalty of 0.20 points due to wrong edge in her second triple flip jump. In the triple flip jump, the skater picks on her right foot, using the inner edge of the blade by turning the left ankle in. However, the judges said she used the other edge of the blade when she jumped.

Nevertheless it is clear she was using the inner edge as revealed on slow-motion videos taken at various angles or photos taken at the spot.

Commentator Peter Oppegard at Universal Sports, who used to coach Kim, replayed this jump after the game. ‘I don’t see any problems [with this jump]. We should demand an explanation for this later,’ he said, casting doubt on the official judgement.

Another problem was that the stringent criteria applied to Kim were not equally applied to her rivals. Asada Mao made a mistake of landing on both her feet at the end of her trademark triple axel, but the judges did not find any errors.

Kostner’s PCS, which was highest among the players, was also doubtful. She received 33.85 points for PCS which is higher than Kim’s 33.80 points when Kim was awarded the gold medal at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010.

Philip Hersh at Chicago Tribune showed strong dissatisfaction on his Twitter, writing that Kostner’s scores were ‘unjustifiable.’ He also commented that Kostner was ranked in the second place due to the ‘generous’ marking, in his article titled ‘Kim, an American’s idol, wins short at world skating.’

Kim challenges to reclaim the world championship with free skating on the 17th.

She needs to make an even more flawless performance, considering that she did not get a score she deserved for her best performance. She got the first place anyhow, but the glory has somewhat lost its lustre  This is why the foreign experts are enraged as much as her domestic fans.

Comments from Nate:


Foreigners seem to be more fond of Kim.


It was a flawless performance to anyone’s eyes, yet she scored less than 70 points. Asada Mao got extra marks for landing on both feet ke ke ke. The skater who landed on her bum got a higher PCS than Kim did ke ke ke. Sigh…


See that, island monkeys??? Kim can pull it even after a long break. Her class doesn’t change no matter what weird scores the judges give.


The foreign commentators were excited as hell. I didn’t understand what they said, but their tone was full of wonder and kept saying ‘bravo! Jesus!’ They talked on excitedly until her score was out, when they suddenly went all quiet and disappointed…… Sigh… Yuna, I’m sorry ㅠㅠ


Not only the commentators but the foreign experts and journalists complained on their Twitter about her low score and wrong edge penalty. It was too obviously wrong this time, to be honest. Her PCS was way too low, and the extra mark for the first jump was 1 point something, compared to usual 2 points… This is over the bound. The monkeys are trying to cover the sky with their hands.


A flip jump is a jump on very slightly inner edge, nearly the middle of the blade. So it may look like middle edge. When it seems like jumping on apparent inner edge, it’s a wrong way to do the flip jump. Therefore it’s a bad decision to apply the wrong edge penalty on flip jumps. Yuna’s PCS was also lower than that of Kostner. And Kostner’s PCS is higher than Yuna’s PCS at the Olympic short program. The judges must have been deeply touched with Kostner’s performance which should have been more artistic and more fluently played than Kim’s Olympic program which was considered historical.


All the world’s eyes are on the game, and only the judges got terrible eyes. They’d better see properly at free skating!


They keep matching Kim and Asada Mao as old rivals. But rivals are only rivals when the two perform at similar levels ㅠㅠㅠ Asada Mao is way behind.


Yu-na, don’t be frustrated by this. You can still win if you keep going like you did at the short program. No matter what the judges do and how favourably Mao is marked, your skills now are at the very top in the world. Fighting! ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke


Today’s game has proven that the field of figure skating is clearly rotten. Yuna is fighting against Jap money, radiation sponsorship and judges.


It was Yuna who set foot in this dirty field in order to let the younger players experience the Olympics. It was also Yuna who says she will never be shaken no matter how much others try to shatter her. We should really be nice to her when she is still playing. Why is she more highly recognised abroad than in Korea?


Everyone, this is the so-called Korea discount. There is too much Japanese money in figure skating. Most of the sponsorship comes from Japanese companies. Many of you must have thought the game was happening in Japan, seeing the placards. But I think the judges may have some pride themselves. If Kim makes no errors, she’ll probably still win regardless of the scores, but if she made so much as a little mistake she may not make it to winning. At the end of the day, it’s likely to be a struggle with herself. And do not criticise Korean corporations so much. If you’ve been abroad, you’d know Korea doesn’t have anything other than Samsung or Hyundai to put up outside the country.


We’ve seen this kind of judgement for the last 5 years. Count how many medals we’ve lost… Homework for today.


When we were admiring Kim’s performance and skills, the judges must have been admiring Mao’s two-foot landing and Kostner’s pratfall. Kostner must have landed very artistically on her bum, no? lol


Well… Last time there was a wrong-edge controversy, the Korean Skating Union accepted the judgement and talked bullshit about how it was a subject of improvement, blah blah. It was more controversial outside Korea. It’s ridiculous how Kim’s nationality as Korean is her fatal weakness ㅡㅡ We can’t blame anyone if she gets tired of beating from both sides and chooses to change her nationality like Hyun-Soo Ahn [Ahn is a skilled short-track skater who was naturalised as a Russian citizen in 2011.].

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  • dk2020
    • Kate

      All of the kids I taught in Korea, especially the little girls, loved Yuna and wanted to be like her. Id much rather see little girls want to be like Yuna then Hyuna.

      • gangnamstyle

        girls generation bitches

      • dk2020

        I think theres only gonna be one Yuna like theres only one Michael Jordan .. she’s that phenomenal, and the whole reason she retired because she placed 2nd in 2011 World FS Championships, she’s a perfectionist she must be under lots of pressure .. but yeah, she definitely an inspiration and role model for all Koreans .. she’s also #7 of top paid female athletes by Forbes ..


  • Troloro

    There are a terrible foreign world conspirancy to blame Korea. Probably lead by the evil Japanese Empire

    • chucky3176

      I suggest you read the Japanese internet before you make jokes like this, it’s full of accusations that Kim Yuna and Korea bought the judges. I would even go further and say most Japanese think Kim bought the judges not just this competition, but all throughout her career including the Olympics. There has been nothing but complaints from Japan that Kim has gotten favorable scores that she did not deserve.

      • chucky3176
      • commander

        The allegation of Japan exerting influences on judges in its player’s favor appears more plausible than accusations floating among Japanese netizens because Kim’s scores suggests she, in my view, was never favored by judges for her perfromance and actually the other way around is true.

      • John

        Well unfortunately the link you gave us is written in japanese from JapanYahoo:(
        Stop this nonsense

  • commander

    Kim’s impeccable performance was only marred by unfair officiating, giving lower-than-expected points. Infuriation South Koreans feel toward the biased evaluation is understandable.

    But to make South Koreans athletes obtain points commensuate with their performances, we should go beyond fume over unfair judgements to draw up ways of keeping pernicious influences on judges from swaying scoring.

    If Japan is behind Kim’s underestimated scoring, what has the nation’s skating body been doing? Isn’t it the duty to ensure Korean players compete on the level playing field?

    With no tangible evidence of judges being swayed under a particular country, the public criticism for allegedlu deliberate misjudgement will not prevent a recurrence at the Sochi Olypmics less than a year away.

    The ultimate solution is that just as South Korea boasts a stellar figure skater, it also needs to possess the corresponding lobbying power aimed to secure fair scoring for its excellent players.

    • Kevin Miles

      It is just dodgy umpiring, we need less nationalist backed lobbying and more sportsmanship.
      That and well done Yuna.

  • ♫ A queen of snow, far beyond compare lips attuned to symmetry sought her everywhere…

  • x1sfg

    Corruption in a multibillion dollar industry that stirs local/regional/national pride? What’s, fixing games in baseball? Steroids in cycling? Oh wait

  • Guest

    “…Criticizing Korean public’s complacency.”


  • Huba_Huba

    They were criticizing “Korean public’s complacency.”

  • runmeng

    ummm this is kinda not true. If you saw the judges score more carefully , you would see that Mao triple axle got errors by 2 judges. In addition, Mao triple flip got down graded as well. Its very illogical to believe that Yuna got this score because of Jap money . If you start talking about jap money, what about Men’s figure skating ? stop nonsense!

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