Though Kim handled the expectations flawlessly, it was part of the reason she stepped away after the 2011 world championships. When she decided to return, she was determined not to be suffocated by the pressure again.
"Pre-Olympics, I was very focused on the results. But after the Olympics, although the training itself is very similar, I don't feel pressure as much," she said. "I'm not as stressed and I'm able to enjoy the moment."
That Kim, now 22, is more relaxed was evident after her practice Saturday morning. Instead of quickly leaving the ice, she spent several minutes at the boards signing autographs and posing for pictures.
But the stakes have now been raised. More than 90 minutes after the competition ended Saturday, dozens of fans were still crowded around the skaters' exit in the cold night air, hoping for just one more glimpse of her. Her picture was splashed across the websites of Korean newspapers.
As Sochi gets closer, the attention — and expectations — will only grow.
"It'd be nice if I post good results," Kim said. "But if I think too much about results, I will be stressed out. So I am trying to relax."
ICE CHIPS: The United States will have the maximum three spots for the women and dance in Sochi, along with two spots in men's and pairs. ... Kim's victory means South Korea will send three women to the Olympics, a first ... Canada qualified for the maximum three spots in men's, ice dance and pairs, and earned two in women's.
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