Ice Network

Medvedeva continues to soar at Skate Canada

Osmond smashes personal best to take second; Nagasu finishes ninth
  • Ice Network on Facebook
  • Ice Network on Twitter
Evgenia Medvedeva earned an impressive 76.24 points during her short program at 2016 Skate Canada. -Getty Images

One skater played a naïve child, reacting with wonder to each new day; the other, a wise and brash Parisian woman of the streets. Both turned in career-best short programs to separate themselves from a very impressive pack at Skate Canada at Mississauga's Hershey Centre on Friday.

It's familiar territory for Evgenia Medvedeva. Last season, the 16-year-old Russian won the Grand Prix Final, the Russian championships and the European championships before capturing her first world title with a record-setting free skate. She hasn't tasted defeat since Rostelecom Cup last fall, and it doesn't look like her streak will end here.

Medvedeva hit town with a heavy cold and new boots, but sniffles and stiff leather didn't stop her from skating with near perfection to the joyously lyrical "River Flows in You." She reeled off an easy triple flip-triple toe loop combination and a solid triple loop, and packed her program with lovely, delicate moments, including a fully extended skid spiral into her closing combination spin. Her point total of 76.24 is a new personal best, exceeding the mark she set last season at the Grand Prix Final.

"This short program relates to my current situation, because it's about growing up, becoming an adult," Medvedeva said through an interpreter. "Not so much about physically growing, but about your inner world changing. As you grow up, you see the world is not as easy as it was as a child."

The teen proved she's already good at taking things in stride, competing in boots she only received a week and a half ago.

"After Japan Open, I broke my old skates, and now I have new skates, and I'm so happy because it's really good," Medvedeva said. "I really like them. It's not a problem for me."

It's newer ground for Kaetlyn Osmond, whose vibrant, sexy program to Édith Piaf's streetwalker ballad "Sous le ciel de Paris" pushed her out of her comfort zone personality-wise and into entirely new territory score-wise. Her 74.33 points crushed her previous personal best by nearly 10 points.  

The Canadian bronze medalist landed a big triple flip-triple toe combination and a triple lutz, and strutted her stuff throughout her steps and linking moves. Her only flaw was a slight trip following her combination.

"I wish I had been to Paris, because then I would know how it actually feels to walk through the streets of Paris," Osmond said. "I love playing the character of just being a confident female. I guess that program gives me a fake it 'till you make it' feeling, and because I am playing such a confident person, it rubs off on my skating."

After a seemingly endless string of injuries, most notably a broken right leg that cost her the entire 2014-15 season, the 21-year-old skater may be coming into her own. She won Finlandia Trophy early this month.

"Overall, I am super healthy, and it's the longest I've ever been healthy," Osmond said. "Now when I feel something, I catch up on it as soon as I can so it doesn't lead to anything more."

"[This short] is going to add a bit of confidence, but I don't want to get over my head," she added. "I've got to stay calm."

Russia's 2015 world champion Elizaveta Tuktamisheva had a mature, stylish short to Mozart's "Piano Concerto No. 23" that included a triple toe-triple toe combination and a triple lutz, but not her trademark triple axel. Her 66.79 points put her in third place, well behind the leaders.

"Today I jumped triple axel in the [practice], my first of the season," Tuktamisheva said. "I think in my next competition (Cup of China), I will try to do a triple axel in the short program, but I think I need some more time to learn it in the long program because it's too hard for a woman to jump all clean with a triple axel."

Japan's Rika Honga performed a clean, powerful program to the dramatic "O Fortuna" by Carl Orff and sits fourth with 65.75 points. Her countrywoman, Satoko Miyahara, had a sensitive and polished skate to "Musetta's Waltz" from Puccini's la bohème, but lost ground when the technical panel deemed the second jump in her triple lutz-triple toe loop combination under-rotated, and also saddled her triple flip with a deduction for an outside edge take-off.

After shining in practices here, U.S. skater Mirai Nagasu had a disappointing performance, falling on her triple flip and under-rotating and stepping out of her triple loop. She is ninth with 53.19 points.

"I think as soon as the music came on I wasn't myself," Nagasu said. "It was almost like I was watching myself instead of being into my body. It looked like I didn't know how to skate. Unfortunately, I have a lot of points to make up tomorrow, but I want to pull up in the long."