Olympics: S. Koreans shocked and angry at Kim defeat

For millions of South Koreans who stayed up into the early hours of Friday morning to watch their idol Kim Yu Na try to defend her Olympic figure-skating title, there was heartbreak and anger over her eventual silver finish. -- PHOTO: REUTERS 
For millions of South Koreans who stayed up into the early hours of Friday morning to watch their idol Kim Yu Na try to defend her Olympic figure-skating title, there was heartbreak and anger over her eventual silver finish. -- PHOTO: REUTERS 

SEOUL (AFP) - For millions of South Koreans who stayed up into the early hours of Friday morning to watch their idol Kim Yu Na try to defend her Olympic figure-skating title, there was heartbreak and anger over her eventual silver finish.

The biggest name in South Korean sports, Kim has a fanatical following in her home country, and there was huge expectation that she would secure back-to-back golds going into Thursday's long programme in Sochi with a narrow lead over her rivals.

Her performance seemed flawless, but Russia's Adelina Sotnikova scored higher technical marks to take first place on the medal podium.

Kim skated last, shortly before 4:00am Korean time, and the Korean TV commentators voiced surprise, verging on shock at the final result, with suggestions that the judges may have been swayed by the partisan Russian crowd.

"It will be interesting to see whether Sotnikova can ever obtain such a high score again down the road," said former skater - and a former Kim Yu Na coach - Byeon Seong Jin, commentating on the KBS channel.

"Today, Yu Na did not lose but Russia won," Byeon said.

On the MBC channel, former ice-dancing judge Jeong Jae-Eun said the marking differential between Kim and Sotnikova was "hardly understandable." The final came too late for Friday's Korean newspapers, but news websites were flooded with angry comments by ordinary South Koreans who felt that "Queen Yu Na" as Kim is known, had been robbed of the title.

The Sports Chosun website ran a balanced report of the competition, but the hundreds of comments it attracted were far from neutral.

"Congratulations Russia! You've become the most rotten Olympics in history. Must be proud of that," wrote one disenchanted Kim fan.

"Sochi is just a shorter term for pick-pocket," wrote another.

Korean Twitter users voiced similar sentiments, although many also sent words of consolation to Kim and thanked her for everything she had achieved for her country.

"I made my conclusion" tweeted @Kjsultra in Korean. "Sotnikova's gold medal is given by Russia and Yuna Kim's medal is given by the rest of the world."

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