Osmond back in the global spotlight

Laurie Nealin
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Kaetlyn Osmond will compete in the World Figure Skating Championships this week in Japan where she hopes to improve on a disappointing results at the Sochi Winter Olympics last month.

Marystown-born figure skater eager to move past Olympic disappointment at world championships

Kaetlyn Osmond takes on the world again this week at the ISU world figure skating championships in Saitama, Japan, intent on improving on last month’s Olympic effort which fell short of her own performance expectations and potential.

“My skates at the Olympics weren’t the best I wanted to have so that’s my challenge going into worlds ... to feel like I’m really satisfied with my programs and to skate amazing,” the Marystown native said last week before leaving her training base in Edmonton for Japan.
“That’s what’s keeping me motivated right now.”

Post-Olympics, the two-time Canadian champion has done little else but train for the global meet in Saitama, just north of Tokyo, where she’s again eyeing a top-eight finish. She ranked eighth in her world championship debut in 2013.

Despite the absence this week of the Olympic gold and silver medallists, Osmond, 18, faces formidable competition from the Russian, Japanese, American and Italian women who ranked ahead of her in Sochi, where she settled for 13th place.

In Japan, Osmond reports she will skate a more technically challenging short program than she did at the Olympics after switching out the jumps to include a more difficult triple flip-triple toe combo and a triple lutz. She said she had intended to do those jumps in Sochi, but injuries to her left foot and right hamstring last fall kept her from training them sufficiently before the Games.

“This gives her two more base points,” said her coach, Ravi Walia. “Hopefully, that will put her in a different class and among the top girls by showing the most difficult content which the other top competitors are doing.”

Walia believes Osmond will “definitely be in the mix with the top skaters” if she delivers two clean performances.

“That is something she is completely capable of doing,” the coach said. “It also depends on how the others skate. You have to do your job with your performance, but everything that happens around you, you don’t control.

“Our focus is to have her skate those great performances that she can do.”

Osmond is not completely sure what went wrong in Sochi, but “over-confidence” could have been the culprit, she suggested.

“In competition, I might have been too over-confident in my programs knowing that I’ve done them (so) many times in practice,” she said. “It’s just something I had to learn to deal with, knowing that even if I can do it in practice, I still can’t be too overconfident to do it in competition.”

Walia thinks his student just got too excited and rushed through her programs which threw off the timing on her jumps. In Japan, he will remind her, “to stay calm and keep things feeling just like practice.”

Osmond expressed disappointment that she didn’t show the perfection of choreography and jumps at the Sochi Games which are standard for her in training run-throughs of her programs.

“That’s what I’m really hoping for in Japan,” she said. “I want to accomplish a lot more than I did ... feel a lot more satisfied with the programs, feel a lot more excited with the way I performed and the way I executed each element.

“If I’m skating a perfect program, I start to feel really calm at the mid-way point, but I try to remind myself to stay focused.”

The worlds open today with pairs and men on the schedule. The women skate their short program Thursday and final free skate Saturday. CBC-TV is broadcasting the championships online and on its main network.

 

Laurie Nealin is a Winnipeg-based freelance journalist who has covered figure skating since 1988, reporting for newspapers and radio stations across Canada, as well as national magazines and global news services.

 

Organizations: CBC

Geographic location: Sochi, Japan, Marystown Saitama Tokyo Laurie Canada

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