Ice Network

Osmond cements herself as Canada's leading lady

Olympic bronze medalist stylishly carved her spot among sport's elite
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Kaetlyn Osmond capped off a banner season by becoming the first Canadian woman in 45 years to win the world figure skating title. -Getty Images

Icenetwork will announce its choice for 2017-18 Person of the Year later this month. Here's one of the nominations for that honor from icenetwork contributor Lois Elfman.

Four years ago, life for Canadian competitor Kaetlyn Osmond was pretty sweet. She had won two national titles, competed well at the world championships and scored an Olympic silver medal in the team event in Sochi, all by the age of 18. Her career was beginning to take off -- or so it seemed.

In September 2014, Osmond suffered a broken right fibula, an injury that required her to undergo two surgeries, followed by a long and painful recovery period that tested her physical and mental strength. There were times when she considered quitting the sport altogether, but instead she found a fresh resolve and a renewed sense of purpose. She also found different ways to train and prepare for competition, which have helped her avoid injury.

After reclaiming her Canadian title in 2017, she went on to win silver at worlds that year. But she was just getting warmed up.

The first part of Osmond's 2017-18 season was highlighted by her winning her second career Skate Canada title and her first medal at the Grand Prix Final, a bronze. After a slight hiccup at the Canadian championships, where she finished second, she roared into the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang with a full head of steam.

NBC commentator Johnny Weir proclaimed her short program, choreographed by Lance Vipond, his favorite of the ladies event. Her free skate, a powerful take on Black Swan choreographed by Jeffrey Buttle, showcased her maturity and set her apart from the teenagers in the field, and vaulted her onto the podium -- making her just the sixth Canadian female figure skater to win an individual medal at the Olympics.

Osmond left PyeongChang with a gold in the team event and a bronze in the ladies competition. A month later, at the 2018 World Figure Skating Championships in Milan, Italy, she rebounded from a fourth-place finish in the short program to win the free skate and, subsequently, the gold medal, becoming the first Canadian lady to earn that prize in 45 years.

"It was an incredible moment for Kaetlyn, and for Canada," said Ravi Walia, who has coached Osmond for the last 12 years at the Ice Palace Figure Skating Club, a modest, low-profile rink in Edmonton, Alberta. "I really enjoyed celebrating that (world title), not only with her but also with the Canadian coaches and Skate Canada staff. It was such a special time.

"Of course, I always hoped that this would happen for her because she works so hard," he added. "I felt she deserved this ultimate great moment, so it was really great that it did happen."

Having worked with Osmond for more than a decade, Vipond said she has never shied away from showing her true self when she is on the ice.

"This maturity and mature look that she has is just something that has evolved naturally," Vipond said. "She was comfortable (with who she was) when she was young, fresh and a little rough.

"It's all coming together, all of these years of development, hard work and patience," he added. "I'm happy that she was able to show everyone what I've seen in her from the time she was a young kid. She works so hard and has overcome so much. I'm happy that it all came together for her."

While Osmond hasn't made quite the splashy round of public appearances as some other PyeongChang medalists, she did get a tweet from a celebrity with a familiar (familial?) last name that sums up how special this season was for her.