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Yu-Na Kim Captures First World Title

Yu-Na Kim claimed the ladies World title last night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The South Korean superstar, just 18, had a big lead after the short program and held on to take the global crown. She finished with a record 207.71 competition mark. Kim is the first woman to break the 200-point mark and the first Korean skater to strike gold at a World Figure Skating Championship event.

“Winning the World Championships was my dream and I did it," Kim said. "It is amazing."

Kim did have some problems with her program, which makes her result all that much more impressive. Her planned triple Salchow was downgraded to a double and she earned no points on her final spin because she had not fulfilled the spin requirements. Kim did land five triple jumps.

"I didn’t really want to think about the scores because it gives me more pressure,” she said. when “I didn't really think about getting the 200 score. Now that it is over, I'm very excited but also a little worried about how I can keep the scores. Trying to keep it as close to it (as possible) is my goal now.”

Kim skated with her trademark combination of artistry and grace and showed her superb speed. The jumps she landed successfully were high and tight.

Joannie Rochette capped off a stellar season by earning the silver medal. It was her first World medal and Canada's first since Liz Manley also won the ladies silver in 1988.

“First of all, this means so much to me. Five years ago I wouldn't have believed I could be here today," Rochette said. "This year, I felt why not? It could be me. I've been training consistently all year and had a great season. To end this way is a dream come true.”

Miki Ando, the 2007 World champion, was third. It was a comeback of sorts for Ando who withdrew less than a minute into her free program last year due to an injury. "I felt good in each competition [this season] and I finally came back," she said. " I didn't do the triple-triple, but I did do well in this competition, so I'm happy.”

Mao Asada, who was the defending champion and third after the short program, fell on her second triple Axel, and placed fourth overall. Asada was gracious in defeat, hugging Kim after the results were posted.

American Rachael Flatt skated well in her debut at the World Championships. She placed fifth. Teammate and U.S. champion Alissa Czisny was 11th. America will now have two spots in the ladies event at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.