Back on the blades

Kaetlyn Osmond easing her way back following injury that derailed competitive season

Kenn Oliver koliver@thetelegram.com
Published on April 2, 2015

Nine-year-old Katie Slaney, a member of the Mount Pearl Skating Club, gets her picture taken with Kaetlyn Osmond at Coleman’s Supermarket in Mount Pearl Wednesday. Osmond, back in the province to perform club shows and conduct seminars, is working her way back into competition form after missing the entire season rehabilitating from a broken leg.

©Photo by Rhonda Hayward/The Telegram

Kaetlyn Osmond is starting to feel like herself again.
Over the past couple of weeks, the two-time Canadian women’s figure skating champion has been making her first public skating appearances since fully recovering from a broken leg and two subsequent surgeries to repair the bone.

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She’s performed in club shows in Mount Pearl, Placentia, Whitbourne, and Brantford, Ont., and tonight she’ll take part in the Prince of Wales Skating Club’s 50th anniversary Ice Show in Torbay.

“I was actually pretty nervous for the Mount Pearl show because I didn’t know what it was going to be like, almost like I had forgot the feeling of competition or showing,” said Osmond, 19, who helped the Canada to a silver medal in the team event at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

“It really helps because of the performing factor, being back on the ice without the pressure of competition.”

Osmond is no stranger to injury — she’s dealt with everything from stress fractures to back problems to a torn hamstring that delayed the start to her 2013-14 season — but this is the first time an injury has required surgery to repair and the first time an injury has caused her to be off the ice for more than one or two months.

She first went under the knife in late September, not long after breaking her right fibula during a practice skate, and had a plate and seven screws attached to the bone. Osmond was back on the ice, albeit cautiously, by Nov. 1 but it wasn’t long before pain forced her to shut it down again.

“The swelling wouldn’t go down in my foot, it was always really irritated in my skate and it actually got to the point where I couldn’t put a shoe on anymore. It was very painful.

“So I went and got surgery again and got everything taken out of my leg.”

Unfortunately, it left her little time to recover and in January she and her coaches made the decision to abandon the rest of the competitive season, which meant missing out on the chance to defend her senior women’s title at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships.

“It was really hard to sit that one out knowing I was already on the ice and trying to get there and then having to say ‘I can’t do it.’,” says Osmond, who would have been making her 10th straight appearance at nationals.

In the months since her second surgery, Osmond says the swelling has continued to diminish and there’s less and less pain in the leg, which she says is close to 100 per cent.

She’s feeling stronger than ever and started performing triple jumps last week.

“I’m not doing very many, because it’s been so long since I’ve done them.

“I’m taking my time getting them back and not worrying about it too much because they all came back pretty easily.

At this point in her rehab, it’s as much about strengthening herself mentally as it is physically.

“When I was off the ice I had to keep my training going so that my strength was there, but now that I’m back on the ice I have to rely on knowing that I’ve done the jumps before,” says Osmond.

“If I force it, it’s going to end badly for me, so I’ve got to let my body do it. Even if it takes a bit more effort, I’ve got to remember that I have done this before.”

While the competitive figure skating season is finished for most, Osmond’s is just getting going. Starting in July, she hopes to take part in three competitions. Her first major competitions will come this fall.

“Shows are fun, I get to show off and be in front of a crowd again, but competition brings that adrenaline that I am a bit of a junkie for, so I’m really excited to go back at it.”

koliver@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @telykenn