Ice Network

Osmond returns to top step of Canadian podium

Effervescent skater says this title means 'so much more' than previous two
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Kaetlyn Osmond fell twice during her free skate, but she still claimed her third Canadian title Saturday in Ottawa. -Getty Images

It wasn't the free skate Kaetlyn Osmond wanted, but it was enough to carry her to her third senior women's gold medal at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships.

"I'm overall super happy with how my season's gone, especially to get my national title back," Osmond, 21, said. "It feels incredible. Definitely, I would rather have done a better long program. There were a lot of little mistakes, and then there were obviously two big mistakes (two falls in her free skate) that I wish I could take back, but that's something to grow on for the rest of the season."

Maturity helped Osmond stay poised despite the falls. She said she loves her free skate, which was choreographed by Jeffrey Buttle. The two recently worked on fine-tuning some details, and the story of the program helped her stay focused.

Winning Canadian titles as a teenager, in 2013 and again in 2014, was wonderful, but Osmond said returning to the top of the podium after missing the 2015 championships and then finishing a disappointing third last year makes it that much sweeter.

"The first two national titles that I won were definitely exciting experiences. Making the Olympic team was incredible. But, overall, I think I might have taken that for granted, and I didn't even realize it," Osmond said. "I loved it when it happened, but after being injured and having trouble last season and missing the worlds spot, it hit me really hard.

"This year is so much more rewarding," she added. "I trained so much harder this year going into nationals. I tried every single possible thing I could, with physio, massage therapy, sports psychology and training on the ice. Everything I put into my sport this year, I'm so glad that it paid off. To get this national (title) just means so much more."

Osmond's short program to the music of Édith Piaf was choreographed by Lance Vipond, who has watched her skating progress over the years. He was impressed with her performances in Ottawa as well as the determination she showed.

"I thought the short program was magical," Vipond said. "It's almost like I wasn't even focusing on any of the individual things she was doing. It was like she was skating on a cloud. It was beautiful. Every performance of the short is getting better throughout the season."

Vipond has worked with Osmond for a number of years, and he has seen her growth as a performer. He said her skating skills have improved tremendously.

"Kaetlyn loved to compete, and she loved to be in front of the crowd, and that carried her through when she was younger," Vipond said. "But she has developed a much more workmanlike quality. Day in and day out, she and Ravi [Walia] (her coach) have a plan, and she does it. She gets it done on a daily basis, and that is really setting her up well now for competitions."

Osmond said Ottawa, the site of the Canadian championships, has special meaning to her. It's where she saw her first senior Canadian championships in person, watching her older sister, Natasha, compete in junior pairs. It's also where she won her second Canadian title and earned a spot on the Olympic team.

"It has so many great memories," Osmond said. "And now a new one."

2015 Canadian champion Gabrielle Daleman took the silver medal, and 2016 champion Alaine Chartrand earned bronze.