Ice Network

Osmond puts lost season behind her with gold

Leonova claims silver; Hicks takes home bronze behind 'Elizabeth' free
  • Ice Network on Facebook
  • Ice Network on Twitter
Canada's Kaetlyn Osmond with coach Ravi Walia. -Klaus-Reinhold Kany

Kaetlyn Osmond claimed her second Nebelhorn crown on Saturday with a mature, stylish free skate to an Ástor Piazzolla tango medley that outpaced the field by more than eight points.

It is a significant victory for the two-time Canadian champion, who missed all of last season with a fractured right ankle, and comes a day after fellow Canadian Elladj Baldé claimed the men's crown.

Osmond opened her free with a triple flip-double toe loop combination that was planned as a triple-triple. Her next element, a high double axel combined with a triple toe loop, was very good, and her triple lutz was brilliant. She over-rotated a triple salchow but hit a solid triple flip. Her program components averaged 7.6, the highest of the event, and she ended with 179.41 points.

"I am really happy to be back on the ice after the injury last season, and this victory is really a great start of the season," Osmond said. "Hopefully, this year will be better than last year."

Osmond worked with Pasquale Camerlengo last season to create her free and competed it at two competitions this summer. Her elegance and maturity impressed officials at Skate Canada's recent high performance camp.

"It's the first time I've done a tango program, and it's a character I love and want to show to the audience," Osmond said. "This program is a favorite for me, and it is the first time I worked with a new choreographer (other than Lance Vipond)."

Russia's Alena Leonova won the silver medal with 165.61 points. Her free skate to American classics including Gershwin's "Summertime" and the Elvis Presley hit "Jailhouse Rock" was certainly created with an eye toward the 2016 World Figure Skating Championships, as the 24-year-old faces tough competition from Russia's younger ladies.

Leonova opened with a good triple toe-triple toe, followed by a shaky triple lutz. She fell on both of her triple flip attempts but skated with good speed and gained the event's second-highest program component scores.

"I am happy to be on the podium. I skated much better than at (the Russian skating federation's) test skate a few weeks ago in Sochi," the 2012 world silver medalist said. "Yesterday, I was very upset about my mistake on the spin (in the short program). It was important (that even though) I skated last today, I was good, because this has often been a problem for me."

Courtney Hicks, eighth in the U.S. last season, claimed the bronze medal with 162.85 points. She opened her free to music from the soundtrack of Elizabeth: The Golden Age with a triple flip-triple toe combination, but the flip was over-rotated and the toe loop was judged under-rotated. Her next combination, a triple lutz-half loop-triple salchow, was the most difficult combination of the event, earning 11.50 points. Later in the program, she fell on her second triple lutz.

"It was the first time in this season I skated this program (full out)," Hicks said. "At Glacier Falls (Summer Classic), I doubled some jumps, which was planned.

"This competition definitely went well for me to start the season," she continued. "I was looking for powerful and expressive music which would push my skating performance-wise. I portray Queen Elizabeth (and how she changes) throughout the movie."

All three of the medal winners were asked about the triple axel, which more and more ladies are training and trying in competition.

"I have not started working on the triple axel because of my health, but I'm looking forward to training it one day," Osmond said.

"I tried it a long time ago, but at the moment, there is no time for it," Leonova said. "But who knows if I learn it one day, or even a quad."

Hicks, who trained the triple axel this summer, was a bit more certain about the jump.

"I plan to put it into my programs eventually, if not this season, then maybe next season," she said. "But it has to be consistent first before I put it into my programs."    

Mirai Nagasu performed the second-best free skate of the day and rose from 11th after the short to place fifth overall with 159.67 points.

Performing to selections from The Great Gatsby soundtrack, she opened with a good three-jump combination of triple flip-double toe-double loop, followed by a double axel-triple toe that was deemed under-rotated. Four more triples, including a lutz, were clean, and her spins excellent. Her technical score (60.53 points), was the highest of the event, but her program component scores lagged behind others in the top six.

"My long program today was much better than the short program, so I am happy," Nagasu said. "I can only improve from here. I have trained the long program much more than the short, so I was more confident. When I get back home, I will improve the short program and will come back strong."