Fig­ure skater Os­mond gets to be a team player

‘Canada has such a good shot,’ she says

Edmonton Journal - - SPORTS - TAMMY KARATCHUK ed­mon­ton­jour­nal. com Tammy Karatchuk writes the Jour­nal’s Skat­ing Scene blog ed­mon­ton­jour­nal.com/skat­ingscene On Twit­ter: @skat­ingscene

In the last nine months, Kaet­lyn Os­mond has trav­elled the world.

This week, the Cana­dian women’s fig­ure skat­ing cham­pion re­turned to Ja­pan to take part in the ISU World Team Tro­phy, which starts Thurs­day in Tokyo, barely a month af­ter the world fig­ure skat­ing cham­pi­onships in Lon­don, Ont., where she placed eighth.

“Canada has such a good shot,” said Os­mond, 17, who cap­tured the Cana­dian crown for the first time in Jan­uary be­fore her strong show­ing at last month’s worlds. “Hopefully, we do as well as we hope to.”

Canada, the top-ranked coun­try this sea­son based on in­ter­na­tional re­sults, is the favourite for the World Team Tro­phy. The team event will make its Olympic de­but next year at Sochi, Rus­sia. It’s been held twice be­fore, in 2009 and in 2012. Canada won sil­ver and bronze, re­spec­tively.

The other coun­tries that qual­i­fied for the World Team Tro­phy are the U.S., Ja­pan, Rus­sia, France and China. Each coun­try has two en­tries in both men’s and women’s sin­gles and one each in pairs and dance, with the ex­cep­tion of Ja­pan, which didn’t qual­ify a pairs team. The win­ning coun­try, based on over­all points, earns $200,000 US.

Three-time world cham­pion Pa­trick Chan of Toronto leads the Cana­dian con­tin­gent, which also in­cludes world pairs bronze medal­lists Mea­gan Duhamel, of Lively, Ont., and Eric Rad­ford, of Balmer­town, Ont., plus Water­loo, Ont., ice dancers Kait­lyn Weaver and An­drew Poje, who placed fifth at the worlds.

Kevin Reynolds, of Co­quit­lam, B.C., will skate men’s sin­gles, while Gabrielle Dale­man, of New­mar­ket, Ont., is the sec­ond women’s sin­gles en­try.

Os­mond said she’s look­ing for­ward to her first World Team Tro­phy, but isn’t quite sure what to ex­pect.

“I’m still pretty new to ev­ery­thing,” the Sher­wood Park res­i­dent said. “I’m ex­cited to com­pete as a team.”

As with ev­ery event, Os­mond’s coach, Ravi Walia, said he knows she will want to im­prove on her per­for­mance at worlds.

“(It was) prob­a­bly the best she’s ever skated,” Walia said.

Af­ter a fourth-place show­ing in the short pro­gram, Os­mond found her­self in the fi­nal flight of skaters for the free skate, in­clud­ing 2010 Olympic cham­pion Kim Yuna, of South Korea, and 2011 world cham­pion Carolina Kost­ner, of Italy.

For Os­mond to place in the fi­nal group was “an ac­com­plish­ment,” Walia said.

A few small mis­takes in Os­mond’s free pro­gram didn’t seem to mat­ter in the scores. She was less than four points away from her Skate Canada score of 115.89, Os­mond’s first Grand Prix cham­pi­onship.

With Os­mond’s top-10 place­ment at worlds, Canada can send two women to the 2014 worlds at Saitama, Ja­pan, and the 2014 Olympics.

Canada will boast the largest fig­ure skat­ing con­tin­gent of all the coun­tries with 11 mem­bers in Sochi, a fig­ure not seen since the 1988 Cal­gary Games.

While Os­mond snatched the ex­tra ticket to Sochi, it doesn’t mean her bags are packed just yet. She says she hopes to make the team.

“It’s my goal next year to make it to the Olympics,” Os­mond said.

And to con­tinue her glo­be­trot­ting ad­ven­ture.

PAUL CHI­AS­SON/ THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Sher­wood Park’s Kaet­lyn Os­mond per­forms at the world fig­ure skat­ing cham­pi­onships in Lon­don, Ont., on March 14.

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