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Osmond overcomes injury, defends Canadian title

Daleman delivers breakout performance to finish second
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Kaetlyn Osmond posted a score of 207.24 in winning her second Canadian ladies title. -Getty Images

Ankle and hamstring injuries that hampered her training last fall were vanquished to ancient history as Kaetlyn Osmond won her second Canadian ladies title in convincing fashion. Saying it's the best she ever skated short programs and free skates in the same competition, Osmond earned a pair of standing ovations.

"It's the first time I did an actual clean program in competition for the long program, so I'm super excited," said Osmond, 18.

She found herself shaking as she took the ice for the free skate but then remembered she often feels nervous in practice.

"When the music started, everything just went away," she said. "It was like I was back home and just practicing in my own rink with my friends skating around me. It felt perfect to be able to go out there."

Osmond gave a lot of credit to coach Ravi Walia for helping her to come back from injury and getting her ready for the Canadian figure skating championships.

"It's confidence in knowing that I can do what I can do and knowing that no matter what gets thrown at me -- whether good or bad -- I can still stay with a positive attitude and still stay focused and calm and able to skate," Osmond said. "That's a lot to do with my coach because he's so calm. He reminds me when I have to focus and when I have to breath, and other times when I have to enjoy it and let whatever happens happen."

Osmond's choreographer, Lance Vipond, said Walia is masterful at planning and knows how to manage an athlete.

"He has a plan laid out, and he's able to see all the variables and what could go wrong, and he's able to roll with the punches and make changes quickly," said Vipond. "He's meticulous in every detail of his coaching.

"Kaetlyn is such a free spirit, and she's so fun. Ravi is a calming influence. He makes sure she's doing what she needs to be doing."

This year showed a definite maturation in her skating. Osmond drew some criticism for a short program to music from the show Sweet Charity. Vipond said the program is meant as an homage to the late Bob Fosse, a legendary choreographer and director. They wanted something up-tempo but more stylized than last year's short program to Latin music.

"We had her study videos of Fosse choreography," Vipond said. "There's a lot more intricate movement, style and refinement than last year."

The free skate is the story of Cleopatra. Osmond said this depiction of Cleopatra's rise to power reflects her own rise to the top of the podium.

"We were weaving the story of Cleopatra into my own life," she noted.

"The long program, she has found her groove in it," Vipond said. "This year, she's really stepped it up. It's exciting to see that she's doing the short programs as well as she always has, and she's added in all of these great long program run-throughs as well. She's doing it on a daily basis."

Osmond said her goal at the Olympics is a top-eight finish.

"Pretty much to skate the same way, better than this competition," Osmond said. "The few small mistakes I had here, to improve on that and maybe add still more to the choreography components.

"I'm so excited [to qualify for the Olympics]," she added. "This year has been so nerve-wracking and so many disappointing moments for me. To be able to come here and skate better than I did last year, it's just amazing knowing I can come back from that and be better than ever."

Gabrielle Daleman, who turns 16 on Monday, finished second with a powerful free skate. Vipond described Daleman as powerful with incredible jumps. Third place went to 2012 Canadian champion Amélie Lacoste.

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