The Olympic champion came back for more gold, and that's exactly what she's getting. South Korea's Yuna Kim made it look so easy today, skating a flawless free skate to win her second World title at the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships. And it wasn't even close, as Kim delivered while her rivals unraveled.
Ladies free: Videos/Play-by-play
It was only fitting that she closed out the competition. Last to skate out of the 24 competitors in the ladies' free skate, Kim needed to be good to win. But she was superb, landing six triples, including her trademark triple lutz-triple toe, to score a 218.31 and win the entire competition by over 20 points.
It could very well be her final World title as well - she indicated after the competition that these World Championships could be her last, as she looks toward the Sochi Olympics as her farewell competition.
The last time Kim was at Worlds was in 2011, when she looked unprepared and finished with the silver to Miki Ando. But this season was different. Though she did not compete under December, when she made her comeback at NRW Trophy, she did not come into this competition cold. And her preparation showed, as she skated two clean programs for the first time since the Olympics to win the World title, adding to the crown she won in 2009.
Second after the short program, defending champion Carolina Kostner fought off former World champion Mao Asada - and a bloody nose - to win the silver. Dealing with a nosebleed from the start of her program, Kostner kept her performance level high but made two major errors - a singled triple loop and a fall on a downgraded triple salchow right at the end of her program. But her lead over Asada was just enough for her to stay in second.
Sixth after the short program, Asada returned to the World podium for the first time since 2010, when she last won the competition. She started her program off precariously, two-footing and stepping out of her opening triple axel and underrotating her first triple flip. But she regained her composure to land five clean triples to vault herself to the bronze, missing silver by just 1.42. Still, her bronze gives her four career World medals, including two gold (2008, 2010) and one silver (2007).
In third after the free skate, Asada's Japanese teammate Kanako Murakami skated strongly but dropped to fourth after both of her triple loops were called underrotated. She finished just ahead of U.S. champion Ashley Wagner, who did not let a fluke fall on her step sequence rattle her. She landed six triples and finished fifth.
U.S. silver medalist Gracie Gold skated a strong free skate, which included five clean triples, to move up from ninth to finish sixth in her World Championships debut. With the final placements, Japan, South Korea, and the United States all qualified three spots for the ladies for the Olympics next year. This marks the first time the U.S. has had three spots at a Worlds or Olympics in the ladies event since 2008.
China's Zijun Li was the only top skater other than Kim who skated a clean program in the final two groups. She hit seven triples to finish fourth in the free skate and move up from 12th to seventh. Home favorite Kaetlyn Osmond, fourth after the short, started her free skate strongly but fell apart in the second half, falling twice to finish in eighth.
Two Russians rounded out the top ten, with Adelina Sotnikova finishing ninth and Elizaveta Tuktamisheva finishing tenth. Canada, China, Italy, and Russia all earned two spots for their countries in Sochi.
LADIES (final standings)
1. Yuna Kim KOR - 218.31
2. Carolina Kostner ITA - 197.89
3. Mao Asada JPN - 196.47
4. Kanako Murakami JPN -189.73
5. Ashley Wagner USA - 187.34
6. Gracie Gold USA - 184.25
7. Zijun Li CHN - 183.85
8. Kaetlyn Osmond CAN - 176.82
9. Adelina Sotnikova RUS - 175.98
10. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva RUS - 174.24
11. Mae Berenice Meite FRA - 165.03
12. Akiko Suzuki JPN - 164.59
13. Alena Leonova RUS - 159.06
14. Viktoria Helgesson SWE - 158.80
15. Natalie Popova UKR - 155.52
16. Elena Glebova EST - 152.49
17. Monika Simancikova SVK - 149.02
18. Valentina Marchei ITA - 147.23
19. Nathalie Weinzierl GER - 142.48
20. Jenna McCorkell GBR - 142.27
21. Brooklee Han AUS - 141.88
22. Sonia Lafuente ESP - 139.66
23. Kexin Zhang CHN - 137.41
24. Kerstin Frank AUT - 127.98