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Ice Queen Yuna returns with a Golden Spin

South Korean figure skater Kim Yuna smiles as she listens to questions during a news conference ahead of Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, at the
South Korean figure skater Kim Yuna smiles as she listens to questions during a news conference ahead of Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, at the

By Narae Kim

SEOUL (Reuters) - Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yuna will make her return to competition at the Golden Spin event in Zagreb next month after her preparations for the Sochi Games were interrupted by a foot injury.

Kim, who became the first South Korean to win an Olympic figure skating gold medal when she took blew away the competition in Vancouver, suffered a foot injury in September and has been working to regain her strength and fitness.

The 23-year-old, dubbed the 'Figure Skating Queen' in Korea, had said last week her fitness was at about "70 percent" and that she was doing jumps and honing her programs for the February 6-23 Olympics in Russia.

"I've recovered a lot from the injury and I have chosen this competition after reviewing my options," she said in a news release on Tuesday.

"I will prepare hard and get satisfying results."

Kim, who has said Sochi will be her last Olympics, would unveil her new short program "Send in the Clowns" and free skating program "Adios Nonino" for the first time in Zagreb, the release said.

While she had gone for a more "lyrical" short program this time around, Kim's free skate choice of "Adios Nonino," with its strong tango rhythms, was the hardest and most difficult she had ever done, the statement added.

Kim flirted with retirement after winning gold in Vancouver but took little time to recapture her best form after deciding to compete at one last Olympics.

After more than a year away from the sport, she capped her comeback season with a dominant victory at the world championships in March, where she scored 218.31 to take the title ahead of Italy's Carolina Kostner and Japan's Mao Asada.

The Japanese skater is expected to be Kim's main rival for gold in Russia.

(Writing by Peter Rutherford; editing by Nick Mulvenney)

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