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Golden Girl Yu-Na Kim Making History Every Step of the Way

Korean skating sensation Yu-Na Kim has become the darling of the figure skating world. With an elegance and poise that belie her age, the delightful 19-year-old dominated the ladies event at Trophée Eric Bompard in Paris this weekend, skating into the history books once again with the highest score ever awarded under the new judging system.

Kim’s combined tally of 210.03 points was more than 36 points over that scored by Japan’s Mao Asada who claimed silver with 173.99 points.

Setting the bar from the outset of the competition, Kim won the short program by 16 points over Japan’s Yukari Nakano. Asada sat in third.

Kim dazzled in her dynamic James Bond routine, executing a series of solid jumping passes and earning level fours for her spins. She scored 76.08 points. “This is my first competition of the season and I was able to show the audience what I have been doing in practice over the summer,” Kim said. “I’m looking forward to the free skate, but I’m also a little bit nervous.”

Attired in an elegant royal blue costume enhanced by countless crystals, Kim was inspiring in her free skating performance to George Gershwin’s “Concerto in F.” The only glitch in an otherwise flawless program came when she skated through a planned triple flip. The reigning World champion was awarded 133.95 points for the long program, a new personal best.

Kim racked up a new combined record score of 210.03 points, beating her previous record of 207.71 points awarded at the 2009 World Championships.

“This is my first competition since I became World champion. I was a little worried about it, but I skated without any major mistake,” Kim said. “When I was setting up for the flip, I thought that there was something on the ice and I was hesitant. But I was able to do all the other jumps without any mistakes afterwards, and I’m happy about that.”

Her second assignment is Skate America in mid-November.

It was not a good day at the office for Asada in the short program. She was unable to complete a planned triple Axel-double toe loop, singling the Axel. Asada’s score of 58.96 points for her routine to “Waltz Masquerade put her into third place. “I know that there is no room for error in the short program, but I made a mistake. I want to concentrate more on the triple Axel tomorrow,” the 19-year-old said.

Asada pulled it together for free skate. The 2008 World Champion landed a solid triple Axel-double toe loop combination at the beginning of her program to “Bells of Moscow” by Sergei Rachmaninov. She executed three more clean triples but stepped out of a second triple Axel that was downgraded, as was the triple loop.

Her score of 115.03 points for the free skate and 173.99 points overall moved her into second place.

Nakano scored 59.64 points for her shot program performance to “Phantom of the Opera” “I skated first in the group and I was able to keep my focus after the warm up. So the starting order was good for me,” she said.

The veteran competitor had a solid free skate but received deductions for cheated jumps and slipped to third with 165.70 points overall.

America’s Caroline Zhang ranked fourth with 153.15 points and teammate, Alexe Gilles, competing in her first senior grand prix event, placed fifth with 151.92