Home is a tricky word when it comes to Kaetlyn Osmond, but she makes it crystal clear where her heart belongs no matter where skating takes her in the world.
The Marystown native, who trains out of Edmonton, Alta., is the sweetheart of the Canadian figure skating family as the defending women’s world singles skating champion and a three-time Olympic medalist.
Japan, Italy, France, Germany, Russia Korea and all over Canada are some of the cool places Osmond has been in the past couple of years while chasing the dream of being a world champion figure skater.
When she met people along the way the first thing she made sure people knew was that she was a proud Canadian. Being Canadian was something that always resonated with people when she told them where she’s from and that made her feel good.
“They always seem to love Canadians,” Osmond said Saturday afternoon while working with young members of the Silver Blades Skating Club at an on-ice seminar.
Osmond left Marystown at the age of eight to join her parents who were helping her sister Natasha find her way in the skating world. Natasha was a pairs skater who moved to Montreal to pursue skating and Katelyn obviously had to go with the family.
When she’s in Canada, she has two places that are very dear to her. She trains and lives in Edmonton, but her brother and other close family and friends are still residing in Marystown.
“I always say Marystown is my home. I do say Edmonton is my home, so I’m just all over place,” she said.
All she can vividly remember about growing up in Marystown is skating before and after school. It was her thing to do and it will continue to be for a while because it is her happy place.
When it comes to support along the way, she’s quick to point out that the biggest show of love and support has come from the people in Marystown, through the ups and downs, and that’s something she really appreciates.
“When I come home I get that sense of community and enjoyment and that’s what I love most about Marystown … they don’t really need a reason to celebrate they’re always just celebrating with each other and that’s what I love,” she said.
When people ask her about her native province, she usually offers up a quick ‘It’s cold,’ but then reminds them that Newfoundland and Labrador is a wonderful place.
“One of the nicest places and some of the nicest people and anyone who has been here completely agreed with me,” she said.
She didn’t move to the mainland to pursue skating, but she found out skating was for her as she continued to hit the ice because it was something she loved to do. She’s thankful things worked out for her because skating has always been a huge part of her life.
A girl from a small town can accomplish big things is the message she hopes young athletes receive when they hear her story and see how far she has gone in the skating world.
She doesn’t think young skaters have to leave the province to make things happen either. She went away because she had no choice, but she believes skaters in this province have quality coaching available to them and there are some good connections to the sport outside the province that can be tapped into if a young girl wants to push herself to become an elite athlete.
“But it’s just (being) willing to go out and find those within your home,” she said.
Osmond believes skaters have to take advantage of everything available to them, and that means they have to be committed to attending summer camps and seminars offered to them, but more importantly they have to be willing to travel to major competitions off the island.
“You can have the ability to become a top athlete from a small place but you have to be willing to travel to be able to see what else everyone can do,” she said.
Being on top as world champion is fresh so she hasn’t had time to think about future challenges that will come with keep her title, but she isn’t too worried given she has been able to find the podium or be close to the top for a number of years.
“It definitely is more nerve-wracking, but it’s not nerve-wracking from the pressure of people to keep myself up on top it’s the fact that I know I can be there now and I want to be able to compete for that,” she said. “Everything that I’ve done so far us because my team and I have pushed really hard to be on the podium. We’ve never focused on what other people are expecting of me.”