Os­mond able to weather fall


National Post (Latest Edition) - - POST SPORTS - SCOTT STIN­SON sstin­son@ post­media. com Twit­ter. com/ Scott_ Stin­son

It is the tricky thing about fig­ure skat­ing: a lit­tle mis­take can be very ob­vi­ous. K a e t l y n O s m on d, def end­ing Cana­dian cham­pion, world sil­ver medal­list, and Olympic medal hope­ful, be­gan her ti­tle de­fence on Fri­day feel­ing, she says, com­fort­able and con­fi­dent.

And then, on her first el­e­ment, a triple flip, triple toe loop com­bi­na­tion, she fell on the first jump. Not a lit­tle stum­ble, ei­ther, but the full Zam­boni.

“It was a ran­dom mis­take,” the 22- year- old from Sher­wood Park, Alta., said af­ter­ward. “I felt some nerves, but no more than I usu­ally do in com­pe­ti­tions. I just felt ready, but maybe I was a lit­tle too ready for the first jump.”

A lit­tle mis­take to be sure, but while in some sports that means a pop-up to short­stop or a ball off the back rim, in fig­ure skat­ing it means a wipe­out, and the need to pick one­self up and smile while do­ing it.

Os­mond han­dled that part well, with a clean skate the rest of the way, adding the com­bi­na­tion back in on her sec­ond triple jump to avoid dis­as­ter.

“Ob­vi­ously I ’m not overly pleased with it, I don’t re­mem­ber the last time that I missed a (triple) flip in com­pe­ti­tion,” Os­mond said. “But over­all I’m so happy that I was able to come back af­ter a fall, a very un­char­ac­ter­is­tic fall for me, and be able to keep my fo­cus through the whole pro­gram.”

Os­mond’s fall left Gabrielle Dale­man at the top of the leader­board af­ter the women’s short pro- grams, which was a pretty fine way for her to exit her teenage years.

Dale­man, who turns 20 on Satur­day, nailed a clean pro­gram for a score of 77.88, in­clud­ing a triple-toe loop com­bi­na­tion and a triple Lutz. Os­mond’s sec­ond-place score was 71.41.

Dale­man, who is from New­mar­ket, Ont., but skates out of the Toronto Skat­ing Club, man­aged that per­for­mance de­spite pneu­mo­ni­a­like symp­toms that caused her trou­ble breath­ing.

“That was hon­estly one of the best skates I’ve had,” Dale­man said of the rou­tine set to se­lec­tions from the opera Car­men.

“Hon­estly, just to can­cel ev­ery­thing out is hard for any ath­lete but I just said, ‘ go out there, do your job, you love this pro­gram, it is so you, have fun with it.’ I even said to my brother be­fore I left, I said I want to come off the ice and say that’s how I end 19 and that’s ex­actly what I did.”

When she fin­ished the rou­tine, she gave it the dou­ble fist pump and slapped her hands to­gether with a wide smile. See ya, teenage years.

Dale­man, who was the sil­ver medal­list at the Cana­dian Fig­ure Skat­ing Cham­pi­onships last year and won the bronze at the worlds in Helsinki, was forced to have emer­gency ab­dom­i­nal surgery in the spring and took the sum­mer off skat­ing to re­cover. She spoke this week about the “dis­gust­ing” fluid buildup that had taken place thanks to a rup­tured cyst, so per­haps it’s not sur­pris­ing that she seems to have shrugged off an­other ill­ness.

Dale­man says a team doc­tor told her on Thurs­day night that she has pneu­mo­nia. “And the end of the day that sounds bad, and it kinda is, be­cause you can’t breathe, but I look at it as ex­tra car­dio train­ing,” she said, a big grin on her face.

“If I can do this now, imag­ine what I can do at full strength,” she said. “This was just a great con­fi­dence booster.”

Dale­man and Os­mond have a healthy lead on 16-year-old Sarah Ta­mura (54.34), who is skat­ing on home ice in Van­cou­ver. None of the other skaters in the fi­nal flight man­aged clean pro­grams, which would have given them the edge for the third women’s sin­gles spot on Team Canada head­ing into Satur­day’s free skate.

Os­mond, mean­while, said her mind­set won’t change af­ter the Fri­day stum­ble.

“This is the first time this sea­son that I’ve been be­hind af­ter the short pro­gram, so I’m re­ally mo­ti­vated to skate a clean long (pro­gram) and put out as much as I pos­si­bly can and re­deem my­self,” she said.

In other ac­tion on Fri­day af­ter­noon at the Doug Mitchell Thun­der­bird Sports Cen­tre on the Univer­sity of Bri­tish Columbia cam­pus, three- time world cham­pi­ons Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir skated a strong short pro­gram and took their ex­pected spot at the top of the ice-dance field.

Though the per­for­mance to a med­ley of the Rolling Stones, Ea­gles and San­tana looked rel­a­tively flaw­less, the Olympic sil­ver medal­lists said the skate did not come easy.

“It’s great prac­tice, be­cause we ac­tu­ally had to fight for it,” said Virtue.

“Some­times, you have to fight for the turns,” said Moir, who said there could be a ben­e­fit from hav­ing to scuf­fle a lit­tle. “Some­times, that’s the per­for­mance you want. You want those gritty per­for­mances go­ing into the Olympics.”

Canada’s fig­ure skat­ing team for Pyeongchang 2018 will be for­mally named on Sun­day morn­ing.


Kaet­lyn Os­mond man­aged a clean skate fol­low­ing a mishap dur­ing the se­nior women’s com­pe­ti­tion at the Cana­dian Fig­ure Skat­ing Cham­pi­onships in Van­cou­ver on Fri­day.

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