Edmonton Journal

Figure skater Osmond gets to be a team player

‘Canada has such a good shot,’ she says

- 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.

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 ?? PAUL CHIASSON/ THE CANADIAN PRESS ?? Sherwood Park’s Kaetlyn Osmond performs at the world figure skating championsh­ips in London, Ont., on March 14.
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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