She’s the amazing skater everyone in Canada hoped for but almost no one saw coming. Only sixth in juniors the preceding year, Kaetlyn Osmond made her senior debut in 2012 by winning the short program at the Canadian Championships and finishing third overall. Later that year, she won her senior international debut, Nebelhorn Trophy, and then cemented her position in the world order by claiming her first Grand Prix event, Skate Canada.
In 2013, Osmond secured her place in Canadian skating history by winning her first senior title, which she defended in 2014. Her eighth-place finish at the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships shook off the malaise that had beset Canadian ladies skating in recent years. Part of the Canadian team that won silver in the inaugural Olympic team competition, Osmond has repeatedly proven not only her talent, but also her competitive poise when called upon to step up.
Unfortunately, injury to her right foot derailed her 2014–15 season. Now recovered, Osmond is inspired to return to action. Having to relearn her jumps from scratch, she feels more consistent than ever before. She’s also more in tune with her body and how to steer clear of injury.
While Osmond loves to compete and missed it during the season off, she has never put undue pressure on herself. She prefers to take each competition as a learning experience and build confidence as she goes.
After her magnetic performances at the 2014 Canadian Championships, huge expectations were placed on her for the Olympics in Sochi. Osmond preferred to soak in the atmosphere and learn for the future.
“Going to the Olympics was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Osmond said. “I wanted to experience it and have fun with it. Of course, the competition was important to me. If I had fun with it, I knew I would do better.
“During Sochi, the feeling of being on the Olympic ice was outstanding,” she added. “To be on the Olympic podium was even more memorable.”
In the team competition, Osmond skated both the short and free skating programs. Given the individual nature of figure skating, the chance to be surrounded by teammates was extremely satisfying. Intent not to be the weak link that kept the team from medaling, she performed not only for herself but for her team.
“It’s because of them that I really grew and did my best,” she noted. “It was amazing to be on the podium with them.”
Although unquestionably competitive, Osmond said she derives her greatest sense of accomplishment by skating well. Quite the change from her earliest days in the sport when she approached competitions with a hyper attitude. She credits her coach of 10 years, Ravi Walia, with providing her with focus, confidence, calmness and perspective. He provided stability and encouragement as she returned from injury.
“When I was first getting back on the ice, every time that I did something new, he would be happy about it, even if it was just a waltz jump or a spin,” Osmond said. “Seeing him excited helped me with my own excitement. He also made sure I didn’t push too hard.”
Heading into the 2015–16 season, Osmond debuted a maturity and style in her skating. Longtime choreographer Lance Vipond created her short program to a rendition of “La Vie En Rose” by Cyndi Lauper. Her free skate marks her first work with Pasquale Camerlengo, who choreographed a tango.
“My short program was choreographed to show another side of me, which is classical,” Osmond said. “To show a different side of me and show I can do a calm, lyrical program. It’s exciting to show that.
“My long program to a tango is also something no one has seen me do before,” she added. “It’s dramatic and really high intensity.”
To slowly work herself back into shape and give herself motivation, Osmond spent the spring months skating in small club ice shows around Canada, where the audiences gave her warm receptions and made her feel the support she had to return to competition. The shows also helped her continue to build her performance skills and audience connection, which are crucial to taking the next step in her skating.
Last year, Osmond toured with Stars on Ice Canada, which was not only a fabulous post-Olympic treat, but allowed her to hone her performance skills. She also thrived on the opportunity to meet fans at post-show meet-and-greets. When not on the ice, she watched the show and keenly observed her fellow performers.
“It was so nice to be able to see how each person performs and how they interact with the crowd,” she said. The show’s choreographer, Jeffrey Buttle, helped her expand her repertoire of movement by giving her new styles in the ensemble numbers. “I definitely looked to learn one thing or another from each skater and to make myself a better skater throughout it all.”
Osmond graduated high school in 2013. She has continued taking classes with an eye toward attending university in the not too distant future.
Fans can follow Osmond on social media, Twitter @Kaetlyn_23 and Instagram @kaetkiss, where she details the life of a competitive figure skater aiming for a dynamic return to competition.