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Osmond trounces field, snaps up first senior title

Defending champ Lacoste finishes fourth; Former U.S. competitor Alexe Gilles comes in 13th

Kaetlyn Osmond won the Canadian senior ladies title by almost 38 points.
Kaetlyn Osmond won the Canadian senior ladies title by almost 38 points. (Getty Images)

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By Lois Elfman, special to icenetwork.com
(01/19/2013) - Kaetlyn Osmond seemed supremely confident and utterly at home in commanding the stage at the 2013 Canadian Figure Skating Championships, and it showed in the final standings.

In winning her first senior title, Osmond, 17, finished 37.44 points ahead of silver medalist Gabrielle Daleman.

"It felt amazing," Osmond said. "I kept going one jump at a time, one element at a time. At the end, I got a little excited, but then I focused again to make it through the rest of my program.

"It's definitely a title I never thought I'd hold," she added. "Now that I have it, I'm extremely excited."

Osmond said the energy at the arena was incredible, and she fed off it as she took the next step in what has so far been a dream season.

After winning Skate Canada last fall, the spotlight was on Osmond heading into the championships. Usually unflappable, she had some rough practices before heading to Mississauga.

"I saw her be more stressed than I've ever seen her before, which is very unusual," Osmond's choreographer, Lance Vipond, said. "She doesn't get stressed out. There was so much talk about her.

"[For the competition] she remembered if she relaxes and enjoys herself and has fun, she skates well," he added. "That's a special skill she has, and I think that's what she did. It's incredible to be that mentally strong, to put everything out of her mind and be able to enjoy the crowd and enjoy the moment. She loves showing off. She loves going out there and showing people what she can do."

Although Osmond caught people's attention at last year's Canadian championships, where she finished third, this year the heat of the spotlight has been fixed on her. Saturday night's triumph is evidence that the excitement was well founded.

"I was a little bit more nervous going into the competition, but when I got on the ice, I remembered the feeling that I've had all year," Osmond said. "It just brings me back to the accomplishments I've already had."

Coach Ravi Walia has been carefully working with Osmond to keep her skating progressing each season.

"Last year was kind of a transition; we were going out of junior into senior," said Vipond. "This year, we wanted to make her look more mature and make her be able to fit in with the best in the world -- not just the top in Canada, but able to go to international competitions and look like the best skaters in the world. She exceeded my expectations."

Osmond said she's felt herself maturing, and she's definitely felt enormous growth in her confidence this season.

"My elements are becoming more consistent. My choreography is becoming more mature, intense and dramatic," she said.

She's expecting to go to the Four Continents Championships because she wants to gain more international experience before the world championships.

Before she resumes practice, Osmond will take a day or two to simply appreciate all the affection showered on her by the Canadian audience.

"I took a deep sigh of relief and let all the energy of the crowd just fill me," Osmond said. "I couldn't stop smiling, and I couldn't stop laughing."

Alaine Chartrand took the bronze, while defending champion Amélie Lacoste finished fourth. Former U.S. junior ladies champion Alexe Gilles, who now competes in Canada, finished 13th.