From a bad break to making history
KAETLYN OSMOND HERE FOR STARS ON ICE
If you’re still pinching yourself over seeing two Canadian women on the world figure skating podium for the first time, imagine how Kaetlyn Osmond feels.
“It’s still so hard to believe that night, this entire season, actually happened,” said the 21-year-old from Marystown, Newfoundland, who won the silver medal at the 2017 world championships, while 19year-old compatriot Gabrielle Daleman of Newmarket took bronze.
Both will be here with Stars on Ice May 6, but a little more than two years ago Osmond was convinced that she wouldn’t be a star and she wouldn’t even be on the ice.
Osmond was already two-time national champion when, at 18, she broke her leg in two places in September (9/11, actually) of 2014, while swerving to avoid another skater during practice. Her competitive season was done before it had really started and, she thought, she was likely done forever.
“When I was in hospital and found out I had broken my leg, I said then and there, ‘I’m never stepping on the ice again. I’m not competing.’
“I was just so tired of being injured. It was probably the first time ever my coaches and parents ever had to force me to go on the ice, not so much to compete again, but so I could get over the fear of being on the ice.”
She did get over it and with coach Ravi Walia, in Edmonton, began rebuilding from scratch what she’d known intimately most of her life.
“I had to relearn how to skate,” she said. “I could barely stand on one foot. I was pretty well a CanSkate skater again.”
During the reconstruction process, Osmond and Walia also changed a few technical aspects to her skating, particularly in her jumps, every one of them. The jumps became more controlled and more reliable, which in turn fed her confidence.
“It’s made a huge difference,” she says. “It took a long time, but I trusted my jumps. And I need to trust my jumps. That allows me to enjoy the part of the program I love most, the choreography.”
She has also changed her attitude going into a competition, no longer waiting to see what happens, but to aggressively go after the things she wants to happen.
Still, she didn’t fare well, at least in the standings, when she returned to competition last year.
She finished third at Canadians, behind winner Alaine Chartrand and Daleman; and didn’t make the team for Worlds, where she’d previously finished eighth and 11th.
But in 2016-17, she won silver medals at two Grand Prix events, finished fourth at the Grand Prix Final, and won her third Canadians.
And then came Worlds in Helsinki where, in less than 44 minutes, she and Daleman won as many women’s world medals as Canada had won in the previous 44 years.
“Actually, we skated only about 10 minutes apart,” says Osmond, who won Canada’s first medal in women’s competition since Joannie Rochette took silver in 2009.
“To hear that Gabby and I made history for Canadian skating means so much. I’ve already seen an impact in the country from it.”
Osmond rotates her jumps and spins clockwise, while 90plus per cent of all skaters go counter-clockwise.
“I’ve learned over the years to translate,” she laughs. “When the coach says ‘right’, I think left.”
Daleman is also with Stars, which has a totally Canadian cast, including every champion from this year’s Nationals, along with former Canadian world champions Kurt Browning, Elvis Stojko and Jeffrey Buttle.
“With all the past champions there, you remember how long this country has been good at this, and how good we can continue to be,” Osmond says.
“It’s really incredible to look around and see who’s on the ice, and to think I’m a part of that.”
A really big part of that.
Canadians Kaetlyn Osmond, right, and Gabrielle Daleman with their silver and bronze medals during the victory ceremony at the World Figure Skating Championships in Helsinki.
Kaetlyn Osmond skates during the free program at the world championships in March.