World champion from Marystown says if she returns to competition, ‘it will be fully for myself’
By Lori Ewing
Saint John, N.B. — Kaetlyn Osmond has a world title, Olympic medals of every colour, and she accomplished it all after rebounding from a gruesome broken leg that almost made her quit figure skating.
What's left to accomplish? Why would she compete again?
“For myself, it will be fully for myself,” Osmond said. “I never imagined winning worlds or medalling at Olympics.
“But it will be fully for me, to know that I can do it again,” she added. “I can still do it, I do believe if I put my mind to it, I would be able to be if not as good as I was, even better.
The 23-year-old from Marystown is taking the season off to contemplate her future.
Osmond, who was at the Canadian figure skating championships that wrapped up Sunday, isn't thinking too far ahead.
“My entire life has been planning and planning and planning and planning and planning,” she said. “So this year, it's been really nice to not fully know. And a little terrifying not knowing.”
Osmond skated on the two-month, cross-country “Thank You Canada Tour,” but has otherwise found the absence of a strict training regimen “very strange.”
“Often I'll go into the rink and train for an hour and then leave, and I feel guilty about it. Like why am I only training for an hour?”
Osmond, who won gold at the world championships last March in Milan, and silver the year before in Helsinki, suddenly found it tough to get herself to the gym or the rink with no competition to prepare for.
“I enjoyed it the entire time I was competing, I had no problem going to the gym every day, and skating every day. It surprised me that after worlds I resented a lot of it, I couldn't handle going to the gym,” she said.
“My entire life has been planning and planning and planning and planning and planning. So this year, it's been really nice to not fully know. And a little terrifying not knowing.”
But after two decades of continuously training and continuously striving to be in better shape, “I was so exhausted,” Osmond said.
“Every time I went into a gym, I wanted to just sit there and cry, and never step foot in there again. it took me quite a while to convince myself: No, you can go to the gym, you don't have to kill yourself there, you can just work out and feel good about yourself.”
Osmond's world title and two medals at the Pyeongchang Olympics — gold in the team event, and bronze in women's singles — came after she broke her fibula in 2014, a gruesome injury that almost ended her career for good.
“The last four years were really really hard,” she said. “I didn't realize it as I was doing it, but sitting down I honestly can't believe I did it. It wasn't a smooth ride, that's for sure.”
But if she had the chance to go back, she wouldn't change the way anything played out.
“I don't think I would have been world champion if I didn't break my leg. I'm fully committed to that,” she said. “I'm a full believer that everything happens for a reason. I fully respect the medals that I got a lot more, I respect the training I went through, my coaches. . .”
Osmond has talked with coach Ravi Walia, along with her parents and friends about her competitive future.
“But nobody is being pushy about it, and that's what I like,” she said. “Eventually I'll have a couple of weeks where I can just sit down and think about it.”
“I literally accomplished everything, so it's fully up to me, and everyone's being really respectful of that.”
Skate Canada would love to have her back, said high performance director Mike Slipchuk.
“But if she makes the decision to move on to other endeavours we fully support her. And I don't think there's many times I've ever seen a current world champion volunteer in a media centre,” he said, laughing.
Osmond volunteered in the media room at the Canadian championships. She also spent a day coaching beginner skaters with Canadian Tire's JumpStart program.
“It's really inspiring to see their joy of it. It reminds me of a lot of things that I like about skating.”