PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – Kaetlyn Osmond put an exclamation point on a memorable run for Canadian figure skaters with a stunning bronze medal performance Friday at the Olympic Winter Games.
She also helped make a little history at the same time.
The three-time Canadian champion and reigning world silver medallist claimed her first individual Olympic medal, scoring 152.15 in an exquisite free skate for a 231.02 combined total. Alina Zagitova, representing the Olympic Athlete from Russia team, took gold with 239.57 points, while teammate Evgenia Medvedeva claimed silver.
It was Osmond’s second medal of these Games after helping Canada to gold in the team event. The medal was also Canada’s 27th at these Winter Olympics to set a new Canadian record, eclipsing the 26 won in Vancouver eight years ago.
“These Olympics have been incredible, starting with the team event,” said Osmond. “When I hit my ending position, I didn’t want it to end. I wanted to enjoy every minute of it.
Osmond now has three medals – one of each colour – in two Olympic Winter Games (2014, 2018). She is the sixth Canadian women’s skater to win an individual medal in figure skating, and the first since Joannie Rochette’s memorable bronze in Vancouver in 2010.
“To make it to the podium is something I never thought I would do,” said Osmond. “I remember watching Joannie Rochette back in 2010 when she made the podium, and I said that was incredible, that’s something I am never going to be able to do. It’s exciting.”
Just seven months after the 2014 Sochi Games, Osmond broke the fibula in her right leg in two places and underwent two surgeries. Osmond almost called it a career but slowly, with the support of coach Ravi Walia, she began the slow, often painful, journey back.
On Friday, that journey culminated on the women’s Olympic podium.
“To think I almost hung up my skates then and called it quits, it’s amazing,” said Osmond. “But I don’t think I would have been able to perform the way I did today without the injury. I regrouped and almost became a new person afterwards.”
It was an remarkable showing for Canadian figure skaters in PyeongChang, with four medals. In addition to Osmond’s bronze and the gold in the team event, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir took gold in ice dance while Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford won bronze in pairs.
Two-time Canadian women’s champion Gabrielle Daleman struggled in her free program and finished 15th. Like Osmond, the reigning world bronze medallist was also part of the gold medal-winning Canadian team.
A tearful Daleman tried to keep things in perspective after a difficult skate.
“On warmup I felt fine, and it was about two minutes before my program started that I started to feel the nerves,” said Daleman. “I tried to get in my zone, tried to get in my bubble. Unfortunately, it’s sport; we all have good days, we have bad days. Today wasn’t my day.”
After her free program, Daleman received a consoling text, followed by a phone call, from her idol Rochette.
“She just said ‘You’re strong,’” said Daleman, choking up. “She can’t even explain what happened and that it’s happened to her, but she said that I was really strong at nationals and the team event. That’s what I’m going to remember about these Olympics.”