Kaet­lyn Os­mond’s Black Swan was golden

Marys­town na­tive tops podium at Skate Canada In­ter­na­tional

The Southern Gazette - - Editorial - BY LAU­RIE NEALIN SPE­CIAL TO THE TELEGRAM REGINA, SK

Kaet­lyn Os­mond flew on the wings of her Black Swan pro­gram to claim gold at the re­cent Skate Canada In­ter­na­tional in Regina.

Dressed in a dra­matic black and sil­ver se­quined cos­tume, the 21-year-old from Marys­town opened Satur­day’s free skate with her trade­mark jump combo — a soar­ing triple flip triple toe — but had to put a hand down to steady her­self af­ter a shaky land­ing on the sec­ond jump.

Canada’s three-time na­tional cham­pion ral­lied to land four more triple jumps be­fore fall­ing on a rel­a­tively sim­ply dou­ble axel in the fi­nal sec­onds.

“I was a lit­tle up­set about the axel, ac­tu­ally, but I was just re­ally ex­cited,” said Os­mond. “I love this pro­gram and I got a great re­ac­tion from the crowd and it just makes the pro­gram even more ex­cit­ing for me know­ing that the au­di­ence loves it.

“All the jumps didn’t work, but I’m happy with the over­all pack­age.”

Os­mond fin­ished 20 points clear of the rest of the 12-woman field, build­ing on the solid lead she held fol­low­ing the short pro­gram Oct. 24.

She scored 136.95 for her free skate and 212.91 over­all, about five points shy of her per­sonal best.

“It’s a great start­ing point. Score­wise, I’m where I was at the Grand Prix Fi­nal last year, so I’m a cou­ple of months ahead and hope­fully it will keep grow­ing.”

Rus­sian Maria Sot­skova claimed sil­ver, while Amer­i­can Ash­ley Wag­ner pulled up from sev­enth in the opener into the bronze-medal po­si­tion.

Os­mond has wanted to per­form Black Swan for some time.

“I’m so ex­cited to do it this year,” she said of the pro­gram set to mu­sic from the Black Swan movie sound­track and Tchaikovsky’s clas­sic “Swan Lake.” “It’s such a strong char­ac­ter for me. It has the in­no­cent and naïve white swan and the pow­er­ful, evil, free black swan.

“Even though there’s a lot more black swan in the pro­gram, I want to show the con­trast be­tween the two, show the power you need to be­come both the black and white swan and em­brace all parts of your­self to be able to per­form at your ab­so­lute best,” said Os­mond, who lives and trains in Ed­mon­ton.

Satur­day’s vic­tory was her sec­ond at Skate Canada. She won her first ti­tle in 2012 at age 16 be­fore a se­ries of in­juries nearly de­railed her ca­reer.

A year ago in Mis­sis­sauga, Ont., she ranked sec­ond to the Rus­sian world champ.

Os­mond’s next Grand Prix as­sign­ment is the In­ter­na­tionaux de France in Greno­ble, site of the 1968 Olympic Games.

Each com­peti­tor is as­signed to com­pete at two Grand Prix events and awarded points based on their re­sults. The top six per­form­ers qual­ify for the Grand Prix Fi­nal, in Nagoya, Ja­pan in De­cem­ber.

Os­mond fin­ished fourth at the fi­nal last year.

In the first half of this Olympic sea­son, her goal is to rat­ify her cre­den­tials as a podium con­tender for the 2018 Olympic Win­ter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea in Fe­bru­ary.

Her sil­ver-medal fin­ish at the 2017 world fig­ure skat­ing cham­pi­onships put her in the Olympic medal con­ver­sa­tion, and she needs to con­tinue post­ing good re­sults in Grand Prix com­pe­ti­tion to stay there.

Os­mond, who turns 22 in De­cem­ber, ranked 13th in her first Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014, and won sil­ver in the team event.

As a young girl, Os­mond says she never dreamed about com­pet­ing at the Olympics.

“It’s not some­thing I watched on TV, not some­thing my par­ents ever talked about. This year, I ob­vi­ously know a lit­tle bit more about it (than four years ago), so it creeps into my head a bit, but it’s just another com­pe­ti­tion.”

Asked if win­ning the world cham- pi­o­nship sil­ver medal last year had changed her life in any way, Os­mond chuck­led.

“No, not at all,” she said. “Back in Ed­mon­ton, no one knows any­thing (about it).”

PHOTO COURTESY OF SKATE CANADA/DANIELLE EARL

Marys­town na­tive Kaet­lyn Os­mond is quickly soar­ing back to the top of her sport. The 21-year-old claimed gold Oct. 25 at the Skate Canada In­ter­na­tional held in Regina.

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