Following her silver medal win at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Yuna Kim won’t get the chance to claim the gold in 2018. The South Korean figure skater has decided to retire, following her latest competition.
Kim’s career in competitive skating ended on a controversial note. She finished behind Russia’s Adelina Sotnikova in the free skating competition. Kim’s total score of 144.19 on Thursday was surprisingly low for a near perfect performance, raising questions of the legitimacy of the judging.
However, Kim won’t leave the sport with a sour taste in her mouth. Following her performance, the 23-year-old appeared happy with her time in Sochi.
“A gold medal wasn’t really important to me and being able to perform in the Olympics is meaningful enough. I made no mistake today and I am satisfied. I did everything I could,” Kim told reporters.
Even though she came up short in 2014, there isn’t much more for Kim to accomplish in figure skating. She won a gold medal in Vancouver in 2010, registering record scores that could last for quite some time. Kim has two world championships to her name, and a history of always finishing in the top three.
It’s hard to imagine Kim’s popularity growing any more. She is revered in South Korea, having been a top performer for so long, earning the nickname “Queen Yuna.” On Friday morning, the phrase “Thank you Yuna” was the top trend on Korean social media websites, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Before the start of the Olympics, Kim mentioned wanting to avoid feeling burned out. She competed at the World Junior Championships a decade ago, and has had little time off since. Towards the end of 2013, she suffered a foot injury and was forced to rest for six weeks.
After a valiant effort in Sochi, Yuna can return to South Korea as one of the most respected female figure skaters in recent memory. She’ll miss the World Figure Skating Championships in March, which she won last year.