© — Photo by The Canadian Press
Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada competes in the women’s team short program figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Saturday in Sochi, Russia. Osmond finished fifth in this event and the free skate, but still collected a silver medal as the Canadian team finished second. She will skate in the women’s individual competition later in the Olympics.
Marystown native part of Canadian squad that finished second in inaugural team figure skating event
As Kaetlyn Osmond packs for a trip to Germany this week, she’ll have to allow for an extra-special pound of weight.
That’s because Osmond, the 18-year-old Marystown native, and her Canadian teammates won the silver medal Sunday in the first-ever Olympic team figure skating event in Sochi, Russia.
Osmond skated Sunday in the women’s free dance portion of the team event, but could do so with little pressure since the Canadians had already been assured of at least the silver after Kevin Reynolds had finished second in the men’s free skate earlier in the day.
World champion Patrick Chan had skated the men’s short program for the Canadian team, but took Sunday off, allowing Reynolds to do a superb pinch-skating job.
Osmond placed fifth in the free skate, just as she had in the short program of the team competition, with 15-year-old Russian phenom Yulia Lipnitskaya finishing first and guaranteeing the host country the gold medal, its first of the Games.The United States secured the bronze when Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White finished on top in the ice dance portion, ahead of Canadians and defending Olympic champs Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.
Osmond will skate in the women’s individual competition later in the Olympics, but with that event not starting until Feb. 19, it was decided that she and fellow Canadian women’s skater Gabby Daleman will travel to Mannheim, Germany to train there, outside of the Olympic hubbub, during the interim.
Osmond will certainly have an Olympic reminder, however: the half-kilogram silver medal she won as part of the Canadian team. The official medal presentation for the team figure skating event is scheduled to take place today at Olympic Park in Sochi.
It’s also the first Olympic Winter Games medal ever by a female Newfoundlander; Maria Maunder of St. John’s won silver as part of the Canadian women’s eights rowing team at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
Athletes from Newfoundland and Labrador now have produced four medal performances at Winter Olympics: Brad Gushue’s men’s curling rink won gold at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy; Dwayne Norris of St. John’s had been a member of Canada’s silver medal-winning men’s hockey team at Lillehammer, Norway in 1994; and Harry “Moose” Watson, who was born in St. John’s, but later lived in Winnipeg and Toronto, was a member of the Toronto Granites team that won a gold medal for Canada in hockey at the 1924 Winter Olympics
Osmond’s stay in Germany should also allow her to avoid unwelcome distractions such as the one that befell her Saturday. Just eight hours before she competed in the short program, she had to undergo an unannounced doping test.
The move caught the Canadian team by surprise as Skate Canada high performance director Mike Slipchuk said he’d never seen an athlete get tested on the day of competition in any event.
The tests are conducted by the Russian Olympic organizing committee.
Osmond had practised early in the morning, and was taking a nap with a “Do Not Disturb” sign on her door when the drug testers arrived. But later, on the ice, she responded well despite the interruption, skating a solid short program.
In her free skate Sunday, Osmond stumbled once but recovered quickly and had an otherwise clean performance in posting a score of 110.73.
Afterwards, the two-time Canadian women’s champion suggested to reporters that, as a novice Olympian, a huge benefit of the team competition — in addition to the medal — was that it allowed her to deal with any first-time jitters.
Osmond has lived and trained in Sherwood Park, Ata., since her family moved there six years ago, but has always let it be known that she also proudly represents Newfoundland whenever she skates.
That can’t be difficult considering all the support she has in this province, especially on the Burin Peninsula, where she began her skating career at Marystown’s Ice Crystals club, and where so many of her relatives live.
Family and friends gathered at St. Gabriel’s Hall in Marystown over the weekend to watch Osmond compete. Among those present was Osmond’s paternal grandmother, Claudia Lambe, who told George MacVicar of the Southern Gazette that she appreciated the time difference that puts Sochi seven and a half hours ahead of Newfoundland time.
“It’s good for us with Kaetlyn skating at 11 a.m. or 12 noon our time,” she said before noting that her son Jeff and daughter-in-law Jackie will soon get to watch their daughter in person as they will be travelling to Sochi for the individual competition.
“We’re hoping she will be able to finish in the top eight, like she did last year at the (world figure skating championship). I’ll be glued to the television when she skates in Sochi.”
Osmond’s popularity in Marystown is such that the local Tim Hortons has even produced a 'Kaetlyn Donut' to mark her accomplishment. But her following is universal and growing, revealed in part by the number of followers for her official Twitter account (@kaetlyn_23), which had doubled to 15,000 from Saturday to Sunday night.
With files from The Southern Gazette
and The Canadian Press