Kim Yu-na Leaves for Sochi Ahead of Biggest Challenge

Reigning Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na left for Sochi Wednesday along with other figure skaters Kim Hae-jin and Park So-youn.

"It will be the last competition of my professional career, so I want to make sure I have no regrets and enjoy the experience," she told reporters at Incheon International Airport.

"It is my second and last Olympics. I can say I'm in good condition as I'm now injury-free at least," she added.

Kim Yu-na smiles at Incheon International Airport on Wednesday before leaving for the Sochi Winter Olympics. Kim Yu-na smiles at Incheon International Airport on Wednesday before leaving for the Sochi Winter Olympics.

She admitted to feeling some nerves as she attempts to end her career on a high by successfully defending her Olympic crown at the Russia-hosted Winter Games. She has long planned to retire after the event.

Kim has been training for seven hours a day, six days a week to get in top form. She will have further practice sessions at a rink inside the Iceberg Skating Palace this week, and on the main rink, the competition venue, from the weekend.

Kim seemed unfazed by the emergence of Russia's new rising star Yulia Lipnitskaya, a teenager who has quickly established herself as a strong contender for gold after helping Russia win the inaugural team event with two impressive performances last week.

"It will be a great opportunity for her as the Olympics are taking place in her home country. Thinking about who may or may not do well won't help me at all," she said. "What's important is I do everything I've been preparing so hard to do."

Lipnitskaya has returned to Moscow in order to maximize her training time, as in Sochi the athletes are only permitted to use the rink at certain times.

Kim's other chief rival, Mao Asada of Japan, is currently staying at a training base in Yerevan, Armenia.

englishnews@chosun.com / Feb. 13, 2014 09:57 KST