Yuna happy handling fame

If Kim Yuna thought she was famous before she was crowned Olympic champion, the South Korean figure skater got a taste of what the rest of her life will be just 18 hours after her golden moment.


No matter where she went on Friday, everyone wanted a piece of the teenager who is already being called 'Queen Yuna'.

Little girls wanted her autograph, men wanted a picture with her, women wanted to shake her hand and hundreds of reporters swarmed around her like bees to honey, hanging on to her every word -- even if she did not have much to say.

"Even before the Olympics, everyone in Korea knew who I am so I don't think it's going to make that much of a difference," the softly spoken Kim said.

Her Canadian coach Brian Orser clearly did not agree. A week after declaring that being with Kim was "like travelling around with Princess Diana", he struggled to find the words to sum up what her return to Korea would be like and shaking his head, he said "Oh my god".

After a very long pause he added: "It's going to be interesting going to Korea as they just adore her."

On the ice, Kim comes across as a goddess among mere mortals, driving home the gulf in class by a huge 23-point winning margin over her rivals in Vancouver.

Off the ice, she almost seems younger than her 19 years. After endless rounds of interviews, she skipped into the room occupied by just a few of her handlers and examined the table full of food before selecting a thin slice of chocolate cake.

She opened her arms wide when five-times world champion Michelle Kwan popped in to give her a congratulatory embrace and giggled throughout their short exchange.

For an instant, it seemed as if she had forgotten that she was the Olympic champion as she seemed star-struck by the whole episode.

However, when reminded of her achievement, she was still stunned.

She scored a record 78.50 points for her short program, a record 150.06 for the free skate and a combined total of 228.56 points -- shattering her previous world record by more than 18 points.

Her closest rival Mao Asada became the first woman to pull off two triple Axels in an Olympic program but was no match for the champion.

"It's not just the score, I'm just really satisfied that I produced my best ever performance at the Olympics with so many record scores," said Kim, wearing an official Korean jacket.

"I still can't believe that I earned the kind of scores usually reserved for male competitors. I was in great shock about my score, and in fact I still am as it's hard to believe."

That score would have placed her ninth in the men's event and had she competed for another 30 seconds as they do, adding in a 13th element, her score would have bumped her up even higher.

The scenario even brought up the question how she would fare if she had in fact taken a page out of golfer Michelle Wie's book and competed against the men.

"The components in a performance are different for the men. I don't know how well I would do if I did compete with the men but I'm surprised that such a scenario is even being discussed," she said, dissolving into giggles.

For now, she plans to defend her world title in Turin next month and Orser also hopes she will stick around for a while as he wants her to learn some more tricks.

"I'd love her to learn the triple Axel, that would be pretty sweet. But I haven't told her that yet," he conspired.

With all the pressure that had built up around her, he was also thankful that she will never have to find out what life would have been like if the unthinkable had happened and she had not won gold.

"They (Koreans) put a lot of pressure on her. They expect her to skate well and the consequences I think would be just too much for her to bear (had she not won gold). I don't think they are as forgiving as we would have hoped they'd be," he said.

For now though, he was happy for his young charge to bask in her moment of glory.

"When I was a child, I never thought getting an Olympic gold would be possible for me. But as I continued training, I saw some possibility of achieving that goal," she said, looking very sprightly despite getting only four hours sleep.

"Now that it's all over, looking back it seems like it wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. I now believe I was born for this and winning this gold medal was my destiny."

Follow the Winter Olympics 24/7 on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and EurosportHD (Sky 412). British Eurosport channels are streamed online via the Eurosport Player.

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