Intelligent. Coachable. Special. Competitor.
Just a few of the words used to describe 17-year-old Kaetlyn Osmond by her coach of the last seven years and former national figure skater Ravi Walia after his star pupil, a native of Marystown, NL, scored a personal best 64.73 at the 2013 Figure Skating World Championships in London, ON.
With a very pro-Canadian crowd behind her, Osmond showed a glimpse of the future and that the present is bright by continuing her trajectory into the upper echelon of women’s skating.
“Everything is really easy for her,” said Walia. “She can do everything. I told her you don’t really need to use your brain for some of these jumps and let it happen. She thought that was pretty funny and she went out and did the next element and said ‘I didn’t think’ and it worked.”
Indeed it did work today for Osmond after she nailed every single one of her jumps. In fact, it has been working all season for the skater who would win ‘Breakout Skater of the Year’ in this country, if such an award existed.
She not only won her first Canadian title in 2012-13, but also captured her first international event (Nebelhorn Trophy) and the first Grand Prix (Skate Canada) of her young senior career.
All this after a junior career that left her wanting to refocus her energy.
“My last year as a junior in Canada did not go over as well as I hoped,” said Osmond, who finished sixth at the 2011 Canadian Juniors. “When I came back from competition, I had to regroup and refocus and take into consideration that I love this sport and would do anything for it. After deciding to go senior I got a top-three (at senior nationals in 2012) and it gave me confidence.”
Walia credits a mixture of body maturity and mental maturity as two key reasons for Osmond’s dramatic improvement. She has taken the necessary steps off the ice to improve, including the addition of Pilates, diet and more focused off-ice conditioning.
A Grade 12 student, Osmond has managed to keep herself on the honour roll at school while attending half days so she can be on the ice by 1 p.m. All her hard work has been showing massive results the last few month and it has even surprised the skater.
“It is a little shocking,” said Osmond. “I was just going into the season to see what happens. To win my first international and my first Grand Prix is just unbelievable. Last year I was still trying to get my triples…it’s just unbelievable to see how much I’ve progressed.”
And now the goal, according to Walia, is to have at least a top-10 finish this week at Worlds.
With that, Canada is guaranteed two entries into the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. A goal tthe team has set, and one that Walia does not see as too much for an athlete not old enough to vote.
“She loves the spotlight and she loves to compete,” said Walia. “She’s always been like that. Other skaters may get nervous, but not her. She marks off the days on the calendar to the next competition. It’s her personality.”
Osmond currently sits in fourth after the short program. The ladies free program begins on Saturday at 7 p.m. and can be seen on CBC.
- George Fadel