A year ago, few in the figure skating world knew who Kaetlyn Osmond was. She was just starting to confidently land triple-triples and she placed third in her debut in the senior category at the 2012 Canadian nationals. Fast forward one year to Saturday night, and Osmond charged to her first Canadian senior women's title.
The 5-foot-5, dark-haired youngster had already placed first at both the Nebelhorn Trophy and Skate Canada International this season. As her dream season continued, the 17-year-old native of Marystown, NL was the winner at Canadian Tire National Figure Skating Championships Saturday, one of three teens to make the women's podium. All were juniors just two years ago.
Friday, Osmond took a monster lead at the Hershey Centre with a confident Mambo-inspired short program. Saturday, she maintained that dominance, despite one tumble, with her Carmen free skate, for a combined score of 201.34. Gabrielle Daleman, who just turned 15 and was last year's junior champion, took second (163.90). Alaine Chartrand, 16, was third (157.22). Lacoste (156.14) appeared to have finished third, but fell off the podium after Chartrand's marks were adjusted.
"Coming in, I was hoping to win, knowing there was a real possibility I could, but also the possibility that I wouldn't," said an elated Osmond. "I'm really happy with how I did and really glad I won."
The most closely-contested event of the Canadian Figure Skating Championships was the pairs, where two teams -- close friends and intense rivals -- pushing one another to their finest performances.
Both teams skating to world class scores, Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford edged out their friends Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch to capture their second Canadian pairs title.
Duhamel and Radford, the reigning Canadian champs, had a slight lead after Friday's short program and kept it Saturday as they earned a total of 206.63. Moore-Towers and Moscovitch, the 2011 Canadian champions, finished a close second with 204.54. Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers were third (171.13).
"This is what happens when you have two world-class skating teams at the top of the world -- they push each other," said Duhamel. "I don't know if we would have skated that amazing if they hadn't pushed us to our limit. It's so amazing for sport in Canada and for figure skating, especially with Worlds coming to London."
Moore-Towers and Moscovitch had finished fourth last year after skating poorly. But they built this year, making it to the Grand Prix Final along with Duhamel and Radford.
Skating second-last on the evening, Moscovitch and Moore-Towers' landed big element after big element in their dramatic long program to music by Queen. They had the crowd on their feet screaming while their rivals waited back stage listening and seeing their rivals' big scores.
Duhamel and Radford answered with their own spectacular performance to Angel by Philippe Rombi.
"After having us and Meagan and Eric both at Grand Prix Finals -- the first time Canada has had two teams there, I knew we were both going to come to nationals really feisty and ready to go," said Moscovitch. "We definitely posted some really high scores, some very competitive world scores."
As expected, Patrick Chan won his sixth Canadian senior men's title with a total score of 273.75, although he had a fall in his free program and was disappointed in his skate. Kevin Reynolds put down a solid free program and narrowed a little the enormous lead Chan held after the short program, but still placed second with 261.26. Andre Rogozine pulled into third with a total of 207.85.
The results of this event will go a long way to deciding who will earn Canada's berths to compete in the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships, which will be hosted in London, Ont. in March -- one for ladies, two for pairs and three for both ice dance and men. Skaters will compete in Four Continents before then.
The Ice Dance event is the final discipline to go, finishing Sunday with the long dance. Four-time Canadian champions and 2010 Olympic gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are in the lead.