Record total leaves Kim in control 

Kim Yu-Na watched her biggest rival skate the performance of her life, putting immense pressure on the favorite to win gold in the women’s figure skating competition.

The cool and composed South Korean simply shrugged away her pre-skate jitters and — at age 19 — delivered the program of her own young life. So Kim, the reigning world champion, heads into Thursday night’s long program with a sizable lead. She set a personal best with a 78.50 score in the short program Tuesday. No woman has done better since the scoring system was revised in 2004. The score was 2.22 points above her previous top mark.

That number puts Kim almost five full points ahead of Japan’s Mao Asada (73.78), herself a world champion in 2008. Canadian Joannie Rochette, 24, is in third at 71.36. She showed remarkable courage in skating just two days after the sudden death of her mother, Therese, who died hours after arriving in Vancouver to watch her daughter.

Japan’s Miki Ando finishes the triumvirate of world champions. She won a world title in 2007 and is in fourth at 64.76. That’s just ahead of the two teenage Americans who still harbor medal hopes. Rachael Flatt, a 17-year-old from Colorado Springs, is fifth at 64.64. She won the U.S. championship last month. Meanwhile, teammate Mirai Nagasu is right behind in sixth with a short-program score of 63.76. She achieved that score — a season high — despite suffering a bloody nose halfway through her skate.

bmcnally@washingtonexaminer.com

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Brian McNally

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I've been given the chance to write about some of the best athletes in the world. Can't imagine a job more fun than that.
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