SEOUL (AFP) - South Korea's reigning Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu Na brushed off the threat to her title from teenage Russian prodigy Julia Lipnitskaia as she left Seoul on Wednesday for the 2014 Games.
The 15-year-old Lipnitskaia became the youngest female figure skater in 78 years to win a gold medal after helping the Olympic host nation seal the inaugural team title in Sochi.
Now she has her eyes set firmly on preventing Kim becoming only the third woman to win back-to-back figure skating golds at the Winter Games.
Speaking to reporters before boarding her flight to Sochi, Kim, who is known as "Queen Yu Na" in her home country, said Lipnitskaia would be buoyed by home support.
"But it doesn't help me to pay too much attention to how others perform. What's most important is getting the scores I have targeted," the 23-year-old said.
"Unlike (Lipnitskaia), this is my last Olympics bid so it's different for me," she added.
Kim's other main challenger in the individual event on Feb 19 and 20 will be Japan's Mao Asada - silver medallist at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
After taking gold in Vancouver, Kim dropped out of competition for more than 18 months.
She got back into shape to take the title at the 2013 World Championships, but then had another lengthy layoff because of injury to her right foot.
Kim has said that she would retire after these Games and seek to become a member of the International Olympic Committee.