Korea's best-ever figure skater will end her competitive career dancing to tango music. In announcing her new programs for the 2013/14 season this week, Kim Yu-na said she will perform her free skate program to "Adios Nonino," a piece written by Argentine tango composer Astor Piazzolla in 1959. For her short program, she chose Stephen Sondehim's "Send in the Clowns," taken from for the 1973 musical "A Little Night Music."
Both programs have been organized by Kim's long-time choreographer David Wilson of Canada, who has worked with her since 2006.
The ladies' free skate event will wrap up the figure skating competition at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia on Feb. 20, 2014. It will also serve as Kim's swan song as she has repeatedly said that she will retire from the sport after the Winter Games.
"Adios Nonino" is a moving piece written by Piazzolla to express his sorrow at losing his father. Canada's Jeffrey Buttle skated to it when he won the World Championships in 2008, a performance that deeply touched Kim and inspired in her a strong desire to perform to the same song before she retires.
However, unlike Buttle, Kim has selected the piece for her longer free skate program, which runs for four minutes and 10 seconds.
"It is the most difficult of all the programs I've done so far, but it's very satisfying," she said. "I hope to show the best of my skating ability as this is going to be the last program of my competitive career."
It is no coincidence that Kim is signing off with a tango song. She also chose "El Tango de Roxanne" to wrap up her final season on the junior circuit in 2006. The music is taken from the film "Moulin Rouge," and her performance is still considered one of the best and most memorable of her storied career.
When questioned about her choice of "Send in the Clowns," Kim said, "This song is about longing for an old flame, and it came to mind when we were thinking about what would best suit my short program." Wilson described it as the perfect match for her powerful yet lyrical style, she added.
Kim will showcase the new programs later this year as she starts her season with two Grand Prix Series events sanctioned by the International Skating Union. She will take part in Skate Canada from Oct. 25 and the Trophée Eric Bompard in Paris from Nov. 15. If she finishes within the top six overall she will earn a place at the Grand Prix Final in Fukuoka, Japan in December.