Na­tion’s skat­ing spot­light falls on Char­trand

Calgary Herald - - SPORTS - DAN BARNES [email protected]­ twit­­dan­barnes

Alaine Char­trand is ba­si­cally the last woman stand­ing.

And if noth­ing much changes be­tween now and the Cana­dian Fig­ure Skat­ing Cham­pi­onships in Jan­uary, she could be stand­ing on the top step of the podium.

It’s fa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory — the 22-year-old from Prescott, Ont., was Cana­dian champ in 2016 — but she will have taken an un­usu­ally easy route to the top this time around. That’s be­cause the women’s field in Canada is all but empty, at least for the time be­ing.

Reign­ing world champ and Olympic bronze medal­list Kaet­lyn Os­mond was the first top con­tender to bail, tak­ing a year away from com­pe­ti­tion to skate on the Thank You Canada Tour and ex­plore other op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Last week, Skate Canada an­nounced two-time and reign­ing na­tional champ Gabrielle Dale­man was tak­ing a break from train­ing to fo­cus on her men­tal health, while 2018 Olympian Larkyn Aust­man would miss Skate Canada In­ter­na­tional to re­hab a sprained left foot.

So an un­ex­pected op­por­tu­nity may well await Char­trand, who shifted her train­ing this sea­son to York Re­gion Skat­ing Academy, as it meshes well with first-year ki­ne­si­ol­ogy classes at York Uni­ver­sity.

“Of course, I’m to­tally ca­pa­ble of be­ing on the podium and po­ten­tially win­ning an­other cham­pi­onship,” Char­trand said. “It’s un­ex­pected to have this many kind of out of the pic­ture at this point. But you never know by the time na­tion­als comes. It’s a long way away.”

Char­trand was a dis­ap­point­ing 11th at last year’s Skate Canada In­ter­na­tional and fourth at na­tion­als, miss­ing a chance to skate at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

“This year is about me, in gen­eral. No mat­ter who was com­pet­ing, it was re­ally try­ing to do what I want, make the changes I’ve kind of been want­ing to make for a while.”

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