The Queen finally has her Olympic crown.
Performing a flawless free skate, South Korea's Kim Yu-Na easily won the ladies' figure skating gold Thursday with a world record total of 228.56 points, shattering her previous global standard by 18 points. The win gave South Korea its first Olympic figure skating medal ever.
Watch Kim Yu-Na's free skate
Japan's Mao Asada won the silver, while Canada's Joannie Rochette
took the bronze — four days after her mother, Therese, died of a heart attack. Americans Mirai Nagasu
and Rachael Flatt
finished in fourth and seventh, respectively. It marks the first time since 1964 that the podium does not boast at least one American woman.
Nicknamed "Queen Yu-Na," Kim, the reigning world champion and leader after Tuesday's short program, is a bona fide rock star at home, unable to go out in public without bodyguards. The 19-year-old entered the Games as the heavy favorite with enormous pressure from her country to win gold. But she rose above it all Thursday, landing jump after jump and dazzling the crowd with her impeccable artistry. She let out tears after she finished and later a scream when her scores came up. Her free skate score of 150.06 also set a new world record.
Olympic spectator Michelle Kwan "very happy" off the ice
Kim's lead was insurmountable. Asada followed with two triple axels in her program — the first woman to do so — but bobbled on a triple toe. Rochette landed awkwardly on a triple flip before sailing through the rest of her program. She blew a kiss to her father, Normand, when she finished and then wiped away tears on the podium. Her bronze is Canada's first figure skating medal since Elizabeth Manley's silver in 1988.
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Other winners included Belarus' Alexei Grishin in men's aerials, Norway in the women's 4 x 5-kilometer cross-country relay, Germany's Viktoria Rebensburg in the women's giant slalom, Canada in women's hockey (its third-straight gold), and American Bill Demong in Nordic combined's individual long hill. The U.S. had never medaled in Nordic combined, which has been part of the Games since the first Winter Olympics in 1924, until this year, when it earned four medals.