After storming onto the figure skating scene last year with a breakthrough season, Kaetlyn Osmond is in a hurry to make a name for herself. But even Osmond admits she got a little bit ahead of herself Friday.
The 17-year-old from Marystown, N.L. nailed three jumps in her short program Friday, during the first day of competition at the Skate Canada International grand prix. But the elation from that moment may have gotten the best of her.
Seconds after landing a double axel midway through her performance, she caught an edge and stumbled, leaving the Canadian Olympic hopeful with a blemish on an otherwise strong performance.
"On the axel I'm not sure what it was, it was probably just my excitement taking over, saying 'oh my god, I just did all three of my jumps and now I'm just going to have fun the rest of the program," Osmond said. "And then it was almost as I was stepping forward, my feet were just gone from underneath me, and I'm like 'oh no.'"
Osmond sits fifth after Friday's short program, with 60.32 points. American Gracie Gold is first (69.45), followed by Russian Julia Lipnitskaia (66.89), and Japan's Akiko Suzuki (65.76).
Amelie Lacoste, of St. Philippe, Que. (59.13) is sixth, and Veronik Mallet of Sept-Iles, Que (50.71) is in eighth place heading into Saturday's long program.
Osmond, who announced her presence on the senior figure skating circuit last year with a surprise eighth place finish at the World Championships and a victory at Skate Canada, is the youngest of Canada's figure skating team heading to Sochi. But her rise has been meteoric.
"I'm really happy with my short program. It wasn't perfect, but it was my first time doing this program really in front of a crowd, and I'm really happy with how it worked out," Osmond said. "The jumps weren't perfect, but I still did my spins the best I could and I performed the program the best I could for now."
Osmond has been battling a foot injury that was classified as a precursor to a stress fracture. The condition was caught early, and though it limited her practice time, she said the foot is feeling better.
"It's doing pretty good. When my skates are on I don't usually feel it that much, so it's almost a relief having the skates on to compete. But to walk around it's still a little sore, but it's getting better," she said.
Though still a teenager, Osmond and her coach shrugged off some suggestions that her short program, in which she skates to Big Spender and Rich Man's Frug, was too mature, or possibly too racy for a young skater.
"I find this program very suited to me," Osmond said. "It is mature, but that is what I am trying to show, is that I am a mature skater even though I am 17 years old, so it works really well."
Osmond's coach, Ravi Walia, said the program is based on a 60s dance, and is not racy, but is designed to to be as difficult and honed as the other skaters on the circuit. "You want to look like the top skaters in the world," Walia said. "Not mature in that she wants to look older than she is, even if she is 14 or 17, you always want to look like you're seasoned out there."
For Lacoste, Friday was a bit of a reemergence for a skater who is also hoping to land a spot on the team for Sochi. After battling knee soreness this summer, the 24-year-old changed coaches less than three weeks ago, moving from Quebec to Denver to train with Christy Krall and Damon Allen. Lacoste said she felt more confident and energetic on the ice, part of a more rigorous workout routine in Denver, at a higher altitude.
"I feel great. I'm so happy with myself," Lacoste said. "It was a big decision for me, but we worked very, very hard, and we are going one step at a time, one competition at a time."
To help the transition, Lacoste moved into Canadian skater Patrick Chan's condo in Denver, left vacant after Chan moved his training to Detroit this summer. She has also started working out with harnesses, which has helped her jumps.
Krall believes Lacoste has also benefitted from training on a busier rink, around other skaters, compared to back in Quebec, where she sometimes skated alone.
"It was more of just a cultural change, coming into a rink that is packed with skater after skater," Krall said. "And I think she finally got to swim with some fishes. In her past training she was an isolated skater by herself. And when you get to that kind of different environment, the different culture, sometimes that just changes [things]."