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"It's more gratifying," Orser said. "(But) it's definitely her medal. She's a champion."
There were simply no visible flaws in Kim's performance, from her skating to her expressions to that lovely cobalt blue dress. While other skaters slow down as they approach their jumps to steady themselves, she hurtles into them at full speed yet touches down with feathery lightness. Her connecting steps are like art on ice, and her edges show not even the slightest hint of a harsh scrape. Her spins were centered so perfectly the tracings looked as if they were made with a protractor, and she must be quadruple-jointed to pull off all those positions in her combination spins.
What really makes her transcendent, though, is her performance skills. She breathed life into Gershwin's "Concerto in F," moving across the ice like notes on a score. As the music lifted the first time, she put one hand on the small of her back and gave a flirty little smile that set shutters clicking throughout the building.
When she finished, you could almost see the pressure fall away as Kim bent over and cried. So many stuffed toys and flowers littered the ice the full complement of sweepers had to be deployed -- not once, but twice.
"It's not any time to hold back. It's not a time to be conservative or cautious. Be Olympic," Orser said. "We've talked about that, coming here. You've got to be Olympic. You've got to be a competitor. Yes, you're beautiful. Yes, the programs are beautiful. Beautiful lines. Great presentation and choreography.
"But you've got to be Olympic and you've got to be fierce. And she was."
It almost wasn't fair that Asada, skating next, had to try and one-up that.
She couldn't. Not even close.
"Because there was so much noise from the crowd, I was not able to hear her score," Asada said. "But judging from the loud reaction, I knew she must have had a great performance."
Asada, who has swapped titles with Kim since their junior days, is one of the few women who even tries a points-packing triple axel, and she did two on this night. But she melted down later, stumbling on the footwork into her triple toe and forcing her to cut it to a single. She did only four clean triple jumps, two fewer than Kim, and did not do either a triple lutz or a triple toe.
Asada looked stone-faced as she waited for her marks. She didn't even crack a smile when she got her silver medal.
"The triple axel I landed I'm happy with," Asada said, "but I'm not satisfied with the rest of my performance today."
For Rochette, the medal is a culmination of "a lifelong project with my mom." Therese Rochette, 55, had a massive heart attack just hours after arriving in Vancouver to watch her daughter skate, and Rochette has been the picture of courage this week.
Supported by her father, Normand, and longtime coach Manon Perron, Rochette decided to go ahead and compete. Her performance Thursday wasn't perfect; she two-footed and stepped out of a triple flip, and had shaky landings on a couple of other jumps. But she made up for those errors with an emotional and expressive portrayal of "Samson and Delilah."
When she finished, Rochette blew a kiss skyward.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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