Kim is the first South Korean figure skater to win a medal at an ISU Junior or Senior Grand Prix event, ISU Championship, and the Olympic Games. She is the first female skater to win the Olympic Games, the World Championships, the Four Continents Championships, and the Grand Prix Final. She is one of the most highly recognized athletes and media figures in South Korea. She is known as the "ice queen". As a result of her numerous accomplishments, she is frequently referred to as Queen Yuna by various media across the world.
She is the former record holder for ladies in the short program, free skate and combined total under the ISU Judging System. She has broken world record scores 11 times under the ISU Judging System since 2007, eight of which being records she herself set. She is also the first female skater to surpass the 140-point and 150-point free skating mark and the 200-point, 210-point and 220-point total mark under the ISU Judging System. Throughout her entire career, Kim had never finished a competition off the podium. Due to her artistry and musical sense, graceful skating skills, and exceptional speed, consistency, quality of her huge and technically near textbook jumps, and longevity and competitive record at a time of unprecedented depth in ladies skating, she is regarded by many as the best ladies singles skater of all time.