Kaetlyn Osmond energizes the Canadian Tire Centre with winning short program

Despite the lack of competition this season and overcoming two injuries, Kaetlyn Osmond ruled Friday in the short program at the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships.

Still only 18, Osmond stepped out to the Big Spender, delivering a program made “comfortable” because of the injuries – and she still won by about nine points.

Her mark of 70.30 is marginally ahead of last year’s short program mark, when she won the Canadian title.

Former Canadian champion Amélie Lacoste, rejuvenated by a switch in training venue to Colorado Springs this season, finished second with her first clean short program in years, she said, and sits at 61.27 points. Gabby Daleman, only 15, is third at 58.38, while delivering the most ambitious combination: the triple Lutz-triple toe loop.

Osmond had planned this season to increase the difficulty of her combination to a triple flip – triple toe loop but because of her extensive time off the ice, she decided to stick with last year’s plan: the triple toe loop – triple toe loop. And her early idea of doing a triple Lutz as a solo triple, became a triple flip, which she scored huge grade of execution marks on (a couple of plus threes).

Osmond dominated both the technical and performance marks even though Daleman did a combination that many of the young jet-setting women do.

Lacoste had been working on a difficult triple loop – triple loop combination, but decided after practice on Friday to scale it down to triple loop – double loop. She’ll go for the triple-triple – she’s been landing it four times out of five – if she gets assignments for the rest of the season, like the Olympics or world championships.

Lacoste deserves top marks for keeping things together despite her horrendous trip from Colorado to Ottawa for the event due to bad weather.

Lacoste was at the Colorado Springs airport for her flight to Ottawa at 7 a.m. Tuesday, but her flight was cancelled. She took a shuttle to Denver to catch a flight to Ottawa via Toronto, but that flight was cancelled. It took her another three hours to get onto another flight to Calgary at 8 p.m. Tuesday. She arrived at 11 p.m. Finally she got the last seat on a plane to Montreal the next morning at 6 a.m., stopped to have lunch with her mother and a niece and took a train to Ottawa.

“After I experienced that, I am not afraid of anything,” she said.

Daleman, who competed internationally this year in junior grand prix, landed marginally behind Lacoste in the standings after doubled her flip and stepped out of it. “The flip didn’t go the way I wanted it to,” she said. “The timing wasn’t just right. Sometimes you go too fast or too slow. I think I just lost my train of thought for a second.”

But she’s still pleased that she landed the big combination. She says she doesn’t feel too much pressure at making the Olympic team, but she likes a little pressure. “Yes, I’m one of the youngest competitors but I’m really showing what I’m able to do at my age.”

Although Osmond has been hobbled by first a stress reaction injury (a precursor to a stress fracture) in her left foot and a right hamstring injury that caused her to pull out of Skate Canada International after the short program, Walia feels she is rallying at just the right time.

Beverley Smith

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