By Duncan Mackay in Vancouver
February 25 - South Korea’s Kim Yu-Na (pictured) was in a class of her own to capture the Olympic figure skating title with a world record score after the free programme here tonight.
The 19-year-old reigning world champion, who led after Tuesday’s short programme, made no mistake with a demonstration of near perfection in the Pacific Coliseum to give her nation a first figure skating gold and the sixth of the Games.
Silver went to Japan’s Mao Asada while there was an emotional bronze for Canada’s Joannie Rochette four days after the death of her mother in Vancouver.
Kim followed Tuesday’s short programme routine to the James Bond theme with a superb free skate to Concerto in F by George Gershwin to tally 228.56 points, beating her own world record by 18 points.
She was awarded 150.06 for a free skate which left her in tears and put her well out of reach of any of her rivals.
She said: "I am really happy.
"I don’t know why I cried, I think I was just very emotional.
“I did a clean performance.
"I guessed a 130 or a 140 but I’m surprised. I still can’t believe the score I received.
"I still can’t believe my performance.
"Watching previous figure skaters, I always wondered why they cried after their performance.
"Crying for the first time today, I still don’t know why I did.
"I can’t believe this day has finally arrived for me."
Kim's performance stopped South Korea.
A mass of hundreds of spectators crowded Seoul station, a railway hub located in the center of the city to see the country's biggest celebrity deliver on their hopes of South Korea's first Winter Games gold medal outside of speed skating.
A similar jam of people had congregated at the train station Wednesday afternoon for the short programme.
Even trading on Seoul's stock markets stopped during Kim's free skate.
From 1.20 to 1.35 pm, during her routine and in its wake, trading volume for each five-minute period was 1,851 shares - half the 3,269 traded in the five minutes before, the Korea Exchange reported.
A couple of mistakes dented any hopes Asada had of matching Kim, but her total score of 205.50 proved enough for silver.
Rochette was given another rousing reception in her second appearance since her mother Therese died on Sunday, and the 24-year-old Canadian again responded with a determined if not error-free performance which earned her a total of 202.64 for the bronze medal.
She said: "I feel proud and the result did not matter.
"I'm happy to be on the podium. It was a lifetime project for me and my mom and we achieved that."
With all the figure skating medals distributed, it means Russia has finish without an Olympic gold medal in figure skating for the first time in 50 years.
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