With 240 days remaining before the start of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, Kim Yu-na is busy training to defend her title. She will start her season with two International Skating Union Grand Prix Series events -- Skate Canada in October and the Trophée Eric Bompard in Paris in November.
Last summer, Kim announced that she would retire after the Sochi Games. Fans are now anxiously waiting to see her new programs for this season, which will highlight the finale of her decorated career. Kim plans to announce these in September, just before the Grand Prix Series begins. She decided on her free skate program in April while training with long-time choreographer David Wilson in Canada. The pair will work on wrapping up her short program this month as Wilson is scheduled to attend two of Kim’s gala shows in Seoul from June 21 to 23.
After advancing to the senior circuit in 2006, Kim has exclusively worked with Wilson, and this long partnership has lent her programs a sense of continuity and coherence. Short programs such as "Die Fledermaus," "Dance Macabre" and the "James Bond Medley," in particular, have helped her flash her charisma on the ice.
For her free-skating routines, she has focused on narratives that resonate with people, such as "Miss Saigon," "Les Misérables" and "Scheherazade." Meanwhile, Gershwin's "Concerto in F," which sealed her Olympic triumph in Vancouver in 2010, was a biographical presentation of her growth from a shy young girl to an international superstar. Through "Homage to Korea," the free skate program she unveiled at the 2011 ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Moscow, Kim expressed her gratitude to Korean fans for their support throughout her career.
Now fans and critics alike are waiting to see whether her new programs will follow the familiar pattern of charming short programs and narrative-based free programs. As the Olympics will take place in Russia, speculation is rife that she may adopt a piece by one of the country’s leading composers. However, Kim is known for her original selections, having avoided scores frequently used by other skaters over the years such as those by Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov.
Mao Asada, a silver medalist at Vancouver 2010, has already announced her new programs. Her short program will be Chopin's "Nocturne No.2 Op. 9–2 in E flat major," while for her free program she has opted for "Piano Concert No.2" by Rachmaninov.
Kim made a triumphant return to competitive skating in March by winning the World Championships with a score of 218.31 points. She also built a convincing lead over runner-up Carolina Kostner of Italy, who earned 197.89 points, and bronze medalist Asada, who received 196.37. But another gold medal in Sochi is unlikely to satisfy Kim, who hopes to smash her own world record of 228.56 points, which she set in Vancouver.